Champion, Katsuaki Fujiwara made clear of his determination to defend the PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) SuperSports 600cc crown having wrapped up the pre-season test on top of the timesheets at the Sepang International Circuit, today.
Despite the scorching heat, the Manual Tech BEET Kawasaki Racing completed 47 laps in total during the three test sessions before breaking his own lap-record of 1’06.538s from last season to replace it with 1’05.924s followed by Mohd Zamri Baba (PETRONAS Yamaha Malaysia) second fastest with 1’06.461s.
Meanwhile, the newly re-branded Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia (formerly known as Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia) who recently announced a full-assault on all Asian motorcycle racing titles, including the 2012 Suzuka Endurance Road Race 8 hour and 4 hour edition and selected rounds of the MFJ All Japan Championship saw it’s four man line-up finish the pre-season test among top 10.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman placed himself third fastest out of the 15 riders who went out on track today with 1’06.611s while rookie, Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi continues to impress coming in sixth with 1’06.918s followed by three time British Superbike Champion, Ryuichi Kiyonari with 1,07.128s and Mohd Emir Firdaus Hasan 10th, 1,07.844s.
Pleased with the results, Fujiwara commented, “I’m very happy with the direction we are heading now. Part of today’s achievement is because we are using new machines and suspensions so this helped a lot. Additionally, compared to last season this year we have a lot more data and this help smoothen the process of shifting last year’s setup to the current bike, making it more competitive and durable,” said the 38 year old
Fujiwara went on to talk about his competitors in the SuperSports 600cc category, including compatriot, Kyonari. The 30-year-old is widely recognized in Europe as a record-holder and legend in his own right. Apart from his achievements in the BSB, he has also made forays into MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship. -“In my opinion, I think most teams did quite well today. Despite the fact I managed to wipe out last year’s fastest lap record, the time difference of those who tested today was not that far apart so I really can’t take this year’s battle lightly. Not only the Malaysians such as Zamri and Azlan have proven to be quite fast and competitive but with Kyonari on the grid and also the other riders, my job to defend the title has just got a lot more harder. So it is very important for us to continue working hard and develop the team and bike further”-, he said.
Separately, in the Underbone 115cc, newcomer Mohd Hafiz Nor Azman (MOS Malaysia Racing) appeared fastest with 1’23.468s followed by Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing duo, Norizman Ismail and Mohd Affendi Rosli with 1’23.922s and 1’23.944s respectively.
And in the Asia Dream Cup (ADC), Japanese representative Hiroki Ono clocked the best lap time with 1’20.513s followed by compatriot Hikari Okubo, 1’20.648s and Thai rider, Apiwat Wongthananon, 1’20.727s.
ARRC Pre-Season Test Results
1. Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki) 1’05.924s 2.Mohd Zamri Baba (Yamaha) 1’06.461s 3.Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (Honda) 1’06.611s 4.Ahmad Fuad Baharudin (Kawasaki) 1’06.704s 5.M.Fadli (Kawasaki) 1’06.813s
1.Mohd Hafiz Nor Azman (Yamaha) 1’23.468s 2.Norizman Ismail (Honda) 1’23.922s 3.Mohd Affendi Rosli (Honda) 1’23.944s 4.Hadi Wijaya (Yamaha) 1’24.100s 5.Ahmad Afif Amran (Yamaha) 1’24.258s
Asia Dream Cup (ADC)
1.Hiroki Ono (JPN) 1’20.513s 2.Hikari Okubo (JPN) 1’20.648s 3.Apiwar Wongthananon (THA)1’20.727s 4.Joshua Hook Frederik (AUS) 1’20.743s 5.Sasitharen Sukumaran (MAS) 1’21.073s