The battle between Malaysia’s Super KIP and Thailand’s Chip Nakarin was evident in Round 1 of the Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship. Taking their turns to flex their muscles and dominate the circuit with their well-rounded expertise, the season foresees exciting scenes as they go on full- throttle to conquer.

Circumstances may not have been favourable to KIP in last season but this year is all about making up for the loss, and he flew to a great start. His flawless lap time consequently his win in Race 1 may not have come as a surprise but for Chip, it was about learning his contender’s moves and using his home- ground circuit to his advantage to strike back in Race 2. With HONDA RACING THAILAND and BOON SIEW HONDA RACING TEAM gloating upon equal points, the next challenge would be the drive to dominate the chart.

Commenting on the Round 1, Chip said, “There are differences in our riding styles and tactics. Riding alongside my rivals help me understand that better and be more aware. That is important as it helps me adapt to the situation throughout the race. Round 1 was an incredible race. Of course, apart from the rivalry, it was also the heat however that’s the challenge we have to overcome.”

As for KIP, he said, “Last year was a struggle for me as I was out of the racing scene for about a year prior to that. So, while I took time to gain back the confidence and pick up on my riding abilities, it helped me project the possibilities clearer. Race 1 was an ultimate boost to get back into the momentum. Now, it is all about being ahead and fighting from here on.”

Sepang circuit will definitely be an added advantage for Khairul however Nakarin seemed to have upped his game this season and is in to take up the forthcoming hurdles ahead. The Honda riders may have the machines for speed but what fuels excitement into the game is the amalgamation of engine capacities with manoeuvring techniques.

Khairul said, “I love Sepang circuit. It is my home-ground and I have celebrated many success stories there. Nevertheless, key to the success is also the condition of the machine. As such, team work is crucial as they are the backbone to the development of a machine that is near perfect for the race.”

As for Nakarin, he said, “The motivation in Sepang would be to have Thailand flag on the podium, preferably on the top spot which is not going to be easy. Riding there would require the skill in braking at the corners and a proper riding plan. I lack skills when cornering hence need more work on that. Furthermore, with Malaysian riders on the circuit ground, it is bound to get fiery!”

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