Idemitsu Honda Racing India encountered mixed fortunes at Round 2 of the 2019 Asia Road Racing Championship at the Bend Motorsport Park in Australia. Nevertheless, the team has made steady progress in the teams’ standings and has climbed up to 6th place overall, after securing a total of 10 points at Round 2.
Rajiv Sethu entered the weekend on the back of securing his best-ever Asia Production 250cc (AP250) class of 11th place at Round 1 in Malaysia. He managed to further improve on that by finishing the first race of the weekend in 10th place, making him the first-ever Indian rider to break into the top 10 of a race in the AP250 class of the ARRC. Starting the race from 12th place, Sethu made a good start off the line and climbed up to 5th place by the end of the opening lap. However, he fell down the order after his bike’s handlebar got stuck with Indonesian rider Irfan Ardiansyah’s bike as the two were fighting for position. Sethu then went ahead and overtook two riders on the fifth lap to secure 10th place and six points.
Sethu started the second race from 12th place once again and ran in 11th place for the majority of the race, before dropping a place on the sixth lap after losing traction. He held on to 12th place till the chequered flag, racking up an additional four points for Honda India.
On the other end of the spectrum, Honda India’s other rider, Senthil Kumar, endured a difficult Round 2. The 18-year-old rookie started the first race from 18th place and overtook three riders at the start, but then went wide at turn 15 and dropped down to 24th place as a result. He eventually passed seven riders to complete the race in 17th place. The second race brought even more misfortune as he had to retire on the opening lap itself after suffering a technical problem.
Commenting on the team’s performance at Round 2 of the ARRC, Prabhu Nagaraj, vice president – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., said, “I am confident that, with the full support of team and riding coach ex-GP rider Mr. [Tomoyoshi] Koyama, the entry in top 10 bunch is just the start. Thailand round should be a strong one for Honda’s Indian team as both Rajiv and Senthil are familiar with this track.”