Round 1 of the 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship drew to a dramatic end at the Sepang International Circuit. The weather, that had been sunny and dry all week long, took a turn for the worse just as the pit lane was about to open for the ASB1000 show closer.

The rain made for an even more challenging race as none of the riders have had the opportunity to ride on the wet tyres at the Sepang Circuit. This was made even worse by the uneven rainfall around the 5.5km track. There was torrential downpour on the North Track while the South Track remained relatively dry.

It was a tentative first lap as the more seasoned riders took their time gaining a better feel for the track conditions. Farid Badrul Hisham from the ONEXOX TKKR SAGRacing Team, on the other hand, had nothing to lose. Farid, who is riding as a replacement for injured Hafiq Azmi that weekend, finished sixth in Race 1. While the rest of the grid felt their way gingerly around the first two laps, Farid had pulled an 8 seconds lap at the front of the group.

However, all that reckless riding around the drier parts of the track took a toll on his performance. Farid aquaplaned out of Lap 4 on Turn 4, followed soon by Ahmad Yudhistira.

Farid’s crash left Yuki Ito in charge of the ASB1000 lead but he too had his fair share of problems. A broken shifter around Lap 7 adversely affected Ito’s race pace. As Ito’s focus shifted from winning the race to just finishing the race, Honda Asia Dream Racing With Showa’s Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi came riding past.

Zaqhwan quickly pulled a lead at the front and took the win with 27’20.147s. 2019 championship leader Thitipong Warokorn netted the highest points haul from the weekend when he finished second with 27’23.706s while Yuki Ito settled for third place with 27’27.360s.