MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda’s Zaqhwan Zaidi is revelling in the heat of the Chang International Circuit while SuperSports 600cc championship leader Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman struggles to get on pace. The Malaysian rider who is second overall in the title chase was quickest during the first day of practice for Round 2 of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship underway in Thailand this weekend.

Despite playing second fiddle behind team mate Yuki Takahashi during the first two practice sessions, Zaqhwan came out with guns blazing at the third session with 1’40.249, the fastest lap of the day. Decha Kraisart and Tomoyoshi Koyama posted 1’40.255s and 1’40.376s respectively to round up the top three.

Meanwhile, Takahashi’s pristine record at the Chang International Circuit was marred by a crash at Turn 1 during the second free practice session. Takahashi ended the first day fourth fastest with 1’40.468s followed by Ratthapong Wilairot with 1’40.655s.

“The track surface is heating up as the day wears on and we are getting less traction than ever. I took an unexpected tumble during FP2, but sustained only minor damages to the bike. I am still confident that my results will hold up well for the qualifying and subsequent races,” said Takahashi who is looking to revive his title defense here in Buriram.

Meanwhile, class leader Azlan Shah struggled to produce the laptimes on an unfamiliar circuit.

“The tarmac was really slippy and to be absolutely honest, these types of track layouts with a lot of stop-and-go are never high on my favourites list,” said Azlan who was 11th fastest in FP1, 10th fastest in FP2, and eventually 9th fastest in FP3.

Qualifying for the SuperSports 600cc will take place on Saturday morning to be followed by Race 1 in the afternoon. Catch the live stream of the races on starting from 0505hrs GMT.