Buriram (Thailand), Dec 1 (IANS) Honda racer Rajiv Sethu scored his first ever point outside Indian soil in the final round of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) at the Chang International Circuit here on Saturday.
Starting from a far 20th on the Buriram grid, Rajiv worked his way and finished among the top 15 riders after being on the 13th spot, thereby scoring his first ever point outside the country in the AP 250 category.
Rajiv clocked his lap time of 1:55:800 with a top speed of 191 kilometres/hour.
Satisfied with his performance in the Race 1, an elated Rajiv said: “It was a good race for me today. The competition was really tight but I made a good start.”
“My target was to stick to my position and make my move on the last lap. I overtook two riders in the last lap. After this, I could see a chance of climbing another 2 spots but the crash possibility was very high,” he said adding: “So I took a call to guard my position and secure points for India. Tomorrow, I want to add more points and finish better in top 15 once again.”
Meanwhile, it was a mixed day for rookie Anish Shetty who climbed 3 positions to finish 23rd compared to his 26th position start on the grid.
Talking on his race experience and plan for Sunday’s race 2, Anish said: “The set-up which we finalized for the qualifier didn’t turn out to be the right one. I missed a big opportunity in the qualifier.”
“Starting from 27th on the grid, I challenged myself and finished three spots up at No.23. In Sunday’s race, my aim will be to make a good start and finish in top 18,” he added.
With the battle for the 2018 ARRC reaching its peak in the finale at the Chang circuit, intense racing and tough competition was expected in the other categories too.
In the 600 cc Super Sport category, 20-year-old Honda rider Taiga Hada entered on a confident note and qualified 18th on the grid.
Thereafter, Hada made fast gains to the 7th position in the first lap itself but a sudden gear shift problem made him lose positions in the subsequent laps.
Despite this, Taiga still pushed hard to finish 14th. With this, Hada grabbed another couple of points for the solo Indian team’s point tally in Day 1.
Sharing an overview of the Indian team’s performance after Day 1 of the final round of ARRC, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said: “Today Honda’s solo Indian team’s riders brought cheer for India. In the AP 250 class, Rajiv finished in top 15 and won his first points outside India.”
“Taiga Hada too added 2 points to our Idemitsu Honda Racing India kitty. The team is working closely with our rider trio on race strategy for Sunday. Our aim is to challenge ourselves for an even better position tomorrow,” he added.