Since Yuki Ito’s full season ARRC debut in 2013, the 26-year-old had frequently been considered as one of the potential riders who could lift the SuperSports 600cc crown. He came close to reaching that target in 2014 when he missed out on the title by only one point.

2016, in particular, was a year to forget. Bogged down by persistent mechanical issues, the Yamaha Racing rider struggled to match results to his full potential. Dogged persistence and sheer determination from both the rider and his engineering crew had made a comeback possible in 2017.

The bad news is, Ito’s results had not been consistent this season. However, a performance graph with peaks and valleys is infinitely preferable to a flatline at the bottom of the chart.

The good news is, consistency was a rarity among the front runners in the 2018 title fight. Everyone suffered from their own issues ranging from mechanical failure to injuries and unforced human errors.

With four podiums and a race win under his belt, Ito rocketed up the SuperSports 600cc ladder. As the clock ticks down to the season finale at the Chang International Circuit, the Yamaha Racing rider is trailing championship leader Zaqhwan Zaidi by only 4 points and shares second overall with Taiga Hada.

Rank after Rd 5: 2
Points: 134 points
2017 Pole: 0
2017 Podium: 5 (50%)
2017 Win: 1 (10%)