Honda India's Rajiv Sethu adds one more point to his kitty

Zhuhai Circuit (China), Aug 10 (IANS) Searing hot temperatures at the Zhuhai International circuit coupled with sizzling competition made the Asia Production 250cc morning qualifier and Race 1 of Round 5 of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) an even more challenging affair.

The morning qualifier on Friday saw IDEMITSU Honda Racing India's rider duo of Rajiv Sethu and Senthil Kumar make good gains on Thursday's practice lap times. With a two-second gap between the top 18 riders, micro seconds made all the difference.

Starting strong, Sethu shed 1.115 seconds over his previous day's best lap time to qualify for top 14 with a best lap time of 1:55:006. His rookie teammate Senthil too improved his lap timing by 1.605 seconds, which put him at 19th on starting grid.

Race 1 saw Sethu make quick 3 position gain at the start itself. By lap 3, Sethu bettered his fastest lap time to 1:54:450, narrowing his gap with the lead rider to just 0:322 seconds.

However, the infighting between the top 13 riders all riding within 1 second gap impacted Sethu. When Anggi Setiawan and Tatchakorn Buasri had bike contact in turn seven of lap six, Sethu saved himself by lifting his bike in the corner.

But in the process, Japanese rider Aiki Iyoshi made contact with Sethu and pushed him off the track. In a race where microseconds mattered, Sethu fell back from the front bunch losing his slipstream advantage in the long straights but defended his position to finish 15th and add one point (19:21:788).

Despite a good start which pushed Senthil 2 positions ahead to 17th, a gear-shifting error in turn 4 eroded all his gains and pulled him down to 24th in lap 1 itself. Thereafter, riding with 4 riders, Senthil recovered to the 20th position by lap 5 before being overtaken by 2 riders in lap 7. He finally overtook them in lap 8 and defended his position till the end of the 10-lap race.

--IANS

rkm/arm

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