ARRC Round 6 Preview


Senior Member
Jul 18, 2011
Kawasaki Z800, Yamaha Mio
Originally published in Racing News Thailand and reproduced here by kind permission

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The Asia Road Racing Championships go to the Losail Circuit in Qatar for the sixth and final round of the season this weekend, with six Thai riders looking for good results.

AP Honda arrive without their leading Supersport 600 contender, ‘Tingnote’ Thitipong Warakorn for the second round in succession. The 23 year-old is still not fit to race after a heavy crash in a club race at Bonanza Speedway, so his place will be taken again by Jakkrit Sawangsawat, one of Thailand’s top Moto3 Production riders. Jakkrit has earned his second outing on the CBR 600RR: in Round 5, he ran just a whisker behind the lap times and results of regular rider, ‘Float’ Ratthapong Wilairot, avoided crashing and finished 16th and 15th in the two races. With the experience in Taiwan behind him, Jakkrit could well feel ready to move ahead of his teammate. For his part, Float will be looking for a strong finish to the season after scoring just five points from 10 races.

The Supersport class also sees the introduction this weekend of new tyre rules intended to prepare riders and technicians for the world stage.
The class runs under a one-make tyre rule with Dunlop, which, until now, has provided standardized compounds depending on the tyre company’s assessment of track conditions at each round, with a limit per rider of six sets.

Under the new rules Dunlop will provide an option of two soft and hard compounds for front tyres. The six sets per round rule will remain in force.

This will provide an immediate additional strategic challenge for teams. Ron Hogg, Promotions Director of Two wheels Motor Racing explained: “The Asian series had always been primed as a launching pad for the international careers of Asian riders. After more than a decade, we are now seeing a positive level of success and it is time to intensify our efforts to develop riders for the world stage. This new ruling will help develop riders who can understand the differences in bike set up with regards to the tyres used. It will definitely help those who are proceeding to the world level.”

Teams will now have to choose, for example, between starting a race with a soft compound to get a fast early pace, or a harder compound so that they can push hard towards the end of the race.

In the Asia Dream Cup (ADC), AP Honda are again represented by ‘Stamp’ Apiwat Wongthananon and Kanatat Jaiman. Stamp enjoyed a strong start to the season, but his results tailed off slightly in the last two rounds, although still running in the top six. Podium shots that show the 18 year-old Thai, who is fifth in the championship going to Qatar, towering above his diminutive rivals suggest that his physique, which should be ideal for 600s and superbikes, is just too big to carry him to the very front of the 250 field.

Having said that, Stamp should be among the top eight ADC competitors who get to test Honda Moto3 bikes the day after the final race, with a view to earning wild-card rides in the Asia Pacific MotoGP rounds in 2013, another move by Honda intended to bring more Asian riders to the world stage. Malaysian riders have led the way so far, grabbing world headlines with performances by Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Hafiz Syharin in Moto3 and Moto2 respectively. Of the eight provisional wildcard prospects, Stamp is expected to finish ahead of the two Malaysians on the list and join them with two Japanese, two Indonesians and an Australian for the test. It has not been decided at this stage how many wild-card places will be offered.

In the ultra-competitive Underbone 115cc class, Yamaha Thailand will be running Prawat Yannawut together with Kannasoot Sitthisena. Prawat lies 13th in the championship, having shown impressive speed, but has lacked consistency, presenting a challenge to team boss, Theerapong Sangthong, who mentored ARRC Supersport champions Decha Kraisart (also the 2012 All Japan Supersport champion) and Chalermpol Polamai. Kannasoot is lying 16th in the championship.

As is customary for the ARRC, free practice begins on Thursday, and the programme runs through to the races on Saturday and Sunday.
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