Decha Kraisat of Petronas Sprinta Yamaha Thailand set the pace in the 600 cc Superbike category at the Asian Road Racing championship on Saturday, clocking 1:45:619 s to take pole in a field of 16 riders.
Decha completed just two laps in the second session, but sped to the fastest time of the day before crashing out in the third lap with a faulty suspension.
Number two in the overall championship standings, the bespectacled biker said that he found the 3.7 km Chennai circuit bumpy and that he would hit the track on Sunday on a new bike with a reworked suspension.
The Thai was followed closely by 25-year-old Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman of Malaysia who timed 1:46:125 s for second place. Fifth in the season standings with 73 points, Azlan said he was pleased with the result and would try to better it in the main race.
“I will try for 1:45:00…nothing is impossible. But this is a very bumpy circuit and requires a lot of stamina, particularly in negotiating the corners.”
Third best time
Season leader Thailand’s Chalermpol Polamai returned the third best time of the day with 1:46:325 s. He admitted the next few races were vital for him to hang on to the slender two-point lead that separated him from Decha.
“Decha won in 2007, so he has the experience. I lead by only two points so every race acquires greater importance as the season goes by,” he said.
Indian riders had an average day. Red Rooster Racing’s Krishnan Rajini finished seventh (1:47:39), while Preetham Dev Moses, of the same team, ninth (1:49:988). Both riders bettered their first session times in their second outing.
A shock was in store for the championship leader, Fitriansyah Kete, in the 115 cc Underbone category as he found himself a laggard in 12th place. Pole honours here were reserved for Hokky Krisdianto of the Yamaha Petronas FDR Racing Team, who ended the day with a fastest time of 2.02.324 s in the second qualifying, a shade better than the 2:02.340 s he mustered in the first session.
“The track limited riders’ potential and most (riders) were slower around the turns than they would normally be,” he said later.
Krisdianto was followed by another Indonesian Florianus Roy of U Mild U Bikers (2:03.034) and Thailand’s Prawat Yannawut of Petronas Sprinta Yamaha (2:03.412 s) in second and third place respectively.
In the UAM–MRF Asia Cup Road Racing category, Yudishtra of Indonesia clinched pole with a lap time of 1:19:796 s. The Japanese duo of Katsuji Uezu and Keichiro Suzuki came in second and third.