The 2018 season of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) came to a close at Chang circuit in Buriram, Thailand. In overall rider standings, Rajiv Sethu and Anish Shetty, representing Idemitsu Honda Racing India team by T. Pro Ten10, raced in the Asia Production 250cc class and are ranked in 27th and 31st places respectively. Teammate Taiga Hada from Japan (Super Sport 600cc class) is ranked in 11th place overall.
The 2018 season ended on a high for Rajiv Sethu, as he earned his first ever points outside home soil. He earned three points in the first race, where he started from 20th position on the grid. Slicing his way through the field, Rajiv ended the first race with a 13th place finish in the Asia Production 250cc class. Teammate Anish Shetty, who started from 26th place on the grid, could move up only four position to end the race in 22nd place. Indonesian rider duo of Rafid and Astra Honda Racing team’s Awhin took the first and second positions in the first race, followed by Anupab Sarmoon.
On his ARRC 2018 season, Rajiv Sethu said, “My 2017 debut was a learning year for me but I couldn’t grab any points for my team. This year, I am thankful to Honda and IDEMITSU to give me opportunity to be a part of the only Indian team at ARRC. With the solid technical support behind me, my performance has really improved. Not only did I jump 19th positions in the championship over last year, but also win as many as 7 points in 3 races this season, which is a first for me. Now will put best effort to try to win the SuperSport165 in Indian National Championship.”
In the second race, Rajiv started in 19th position on the grid and climbed up three positions in the first lap itself. But it was a closely fought race and with riders racing close to each other, Rajiv didn’t have an opportunity to climb up the order. Come the final lap, Rajiv made his move to climb up one position and ended the race in P15, earning four more points. Teammate Anish Shetty, who started in 25th place on the grid had a bad start which cost him 10 seconds in the first lap. But he made up for lost time by pushing his bike aggressively, till the last corner of the final lap, where he overtook the rider in front of him to finish the race in P20.
On his debut season in international racing Anish Shetty said, “In 2018, I realized my dream to make my international racing debut thanks to Honda and Idemitsu. ARRC was a steep learning curve & has tremendously improved my riding style, cornering speed, bike and tyre understanding. After battling with Asia’s best, my target now is to add to my lead and seal my maiden Pro-Stock title in Indian National Racing Championship and the 2018 CBR 250R championship too.”
In the first race of Super Sport 600cc class, Japanese rider Taiga Hada, also from Idemitsu Honda Racing India team by T. Pro Ten10, climbed up to 7th position in first lap itself. Unfortunately, due to gear shift problem, he dropped down the order and eventually finished in 14th place and earned two points.
In the second race, Taiga started from 17th position and climbed up five positions during the race to finish in P12. With 79 points earned in this season, Taiga has led Idemitsu Honda Racing India team to 7th place overall in the team’s standing in the Super Sport 600cc class. The team is ranked in 15th place overall in the AP 250cc class.
On the ARRC 2018, Prabhu Nagaraj, vice president – brand and communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “It’s a proud moment for us and a great push to Indian motorsport. Not only are our boys getting opportunity to battle with Asia’s best professional riders and notching up points. In his rookie season, Anish won points in Australia. In Rajiv’s case, the improvement is remarkable. Compared to his 46th position in the overall AP 250 championship last year, he has jumped 19 spots and won 7 points for the first time in 2018. In SS600 class too, Hada has amassed 79 points for the India team. The 2018 season closes today, but the action continues. As a company driven on realizing the Power of Dreams, our next big dream is to create an iconic Indian rider at the world stage. Working on this dream, we will start the testing for the 2019 season in next 2 days. Expect the unexpected from Honda as we push our commitment to win laurels for India in 2019.”
The ARRC will return for 2019 season with a new category – ASB1000. There will be seven rounds for the 2019 season starting in March from Sepang, after which it will move to Australia (25-28 April), Thailand (31 May – 2 June), Japan (28-30 June), Korea (9-11 Aug), Malaysia (19-22 Sep) before final culmination in Thailand (29 Nov – 1 Dec, 2019).
|Team||Rider||Nation||Age||Category||Race 1 result||Race 2 result||2018 rider standing||2018 team standing|
Honda Racing India’ by T Pro Ten10
|Rajiv Sethu||India||20||Asia Production 250cc||13||15||27||15|
|Taiga Hada||Japan||20||Super Sports 600cc||14||12||11||7|