Punchana Kulrojchalalai makes Suzuka a perfect weekend
Blue skies once again blessed the riders on the final day of Round 3 at the 5.821km Suzuka Circuit. This was the first time this season where both Race 1 and 2 were held on Sunday for SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE (SAC), SUZUKI’s rider development program using the single platform SUZUKI GSX-R150.
The riders made their final adjustments to their GSX-R150 at the warm-up session, where once again, pole sitter #78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai (Thailand) finishes on top of the chart.
Kulrojchalalai takes the lead immediately after start of the 6-lap Race 1, followed by #76 Chepy Armansyah Suryadi (Indonesia), and the whole field following the two right behind. Everyone expected the whole field to be battling for the win until the final lap, but instead saw Kulrojchalalai and guest rider, #83 Takeru Murase (Japan) pull away for a one-on-one battle. With several lead changes, the battle goes on until the chequered flag, with Kulrojchalalai winning his first race of the season.
Race 2 saw a similar start to Race 1, where Kulrojchalalai takes the lead with the field following Kulrojchalalai, but only this time this continues to the final lap. Although, there were a few fallers during the race, 10 riders ran in the top group until the final lap, with the lead changing several times in each lap. But it was Kulrojchalalai would took the win. With this, Kulrojchalalai takes a perfect weekend, where he took the top spot in every session of the weekend at Suzuka.
SAC is scheduled to bring its next round to Indonesia, at Sentul International Circuit, 11-13 August, 2017.
Punchana Kulrojchalalai | #78
“The SAC riders have been racing together for 2 rounds now, and we are all improving each session. I feel that it is difficult to pull away from the pack, so I concentrated on checking the other riders throughout the weekend, and tried to figure out where I have the advantage. My strategy in Race 1 was to take the lead from the beginning and pull away, and was successful in doing that, but was not able to do that in Race 2. I am sure everyone will be racing harder to win the remaining rounds. I plan to review how I racing, and try to win again in the remainder of the season.”
Yukio Kagayama | General Manager
“I would like to thank all of you who have supported us to make this third visit to Suzuka possible. Suzuka is a technical track, but the SAC riders has done a great job. Punchana won both races, and Saugi (#11 Ahmad Saugi Muchtar, Indonesia) constantly took the podium. By racing in the Supersports 600, I think I was able to show the riders how to race in a larger bike category in the future, and was also able to motivate them. I hope they make turn this experience in good use for the remainder of the season.”
Shunji Yatsushiro | Rider Coach
“Unfortunately, there were many crashes and contact today. There were two races, so I warned them not to crash, but it was unfortunate that there so so many. Race 1 and 2 showed different charcteristics. Two riders pulled away from the pack in Race 1, and showed us a clean and a fair battle. Race 2 went in a slower pace, and was difficult to determine who would win it until the finish line. Punchana won both races. He had speed since the beginning of the season, and turned that speed into wins this week. He showed us a good race today.”