One of India’s largest bike manufacturer, TVS, made a surprise low-key debut in the 2019 Malaysia Superbikes Championship (MSBK). There was little fanfare to accompany this late entry made under the name of Malaysian team, 31 Racing.

However, the Indian marquee did not stay low-key for long. Helmed by Thai rider Vorapong Malahuan, the TVS 310RR quickly made its mark on the first day of practice when Vorapong posted the fifth fastest time of the day. The team’s handpicked Indian riders, Jagan Kumar and KY Ahmed were 11th and 26th fastest respectively.

The three riders improved further in the qualifier. Vorapong was still fifth fastest but shaved a full second off his fastest time. He lined up on second row with a personal best of ‘2’31.667s. Jagan made it into the top-10 at the qualifier while KY Ahmed went from 26th to 13th quickest.

“We really had no idea what to expect in this first race. The team had worked hard on the bike, but our efforts were stymied by bad weather during the testing stage. Each time we booked a track for testing, the skies opened up and we could barely get anything done,” explained TVS’s lead developmental rider, Vorapong.

In spite of the handicap, the seasoned Thai campaigner proved to be a fierce competitor for TVS. He scored a double podium on the second day when he finished third in Race 1 and second in Race 2.

Could this be a hint of bigger things in store for TVS?