SuperSports 600cc defending champion Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi looks to be in fighting form as the new season of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship commences. At the official pre-season test at the Johor Circuit, the MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda rider clocked the fastest time from the first day of testing with a time of 01’32.313s.

The 22-year-old double champion will be the lead rider in team MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda’s bid to win their sixth consecutive SuperSports 600cc team title.

“My former team mate Yuki Takahashi has decided to focus on the All Japan Championship this season. I will be partnered with a 600cc debutant Teppei Nagoe. This will be the first time in which I am the lead rider in the SuperSports 600cc rider line-up. The first day of testing had progressed smoothly, but everyone is working at a measured pace. The 2016 lap record at the Johor Circuit remains intact. I think we can expect to see laptimes tumbling for the second day of practice,” said Zaqhwan.

Behind Zaqhwan, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, now with Indonesian team Manual Tech Kawasaki Racing, posted the second fastest time of 01’32.402s. Third fastest with 01’32.819s was Yamaha Thailand Racing’s Decha Kraisart.

In the Asia Production 250cc class, all eyes were on the official debut of the all new Honda CBR250RR. The new motorcycle had been expected to take the championship by storm. However, in the first day of practice, it was Kawasaki that emerged fastest when Manual Tech Kawasaki rider Andy Muhammad Fadly cracked the existing lap record with 01’44.797s. Team Astra Honda Racing’s Gerry Salim posted the second fastest time with 01’44.818s while Anupab Sarmoon of Yamaha Thailand Racing stepped up to the plate and delivered the third fastest time of 01’45.059s.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old rookie Mohd Akid Aziz served up a surprise when he out-paced many of the senior riders in the new Underbone 150cc category. The 19-year-old stopped the clock at 01’50.546s.