Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s motorsports arm, Idemitsu Honda Racing India, announced its team for the 2019 racing season. Representing the team from India will be Rajiv Sethu, Senthil Kumar, Mohamed Mikail and Kritik Habib. While the 2019 Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) will be Rajiv Sethu’s third appearance, Senthil Kumar is all set to make his ARRC debut.
The international races
Both Senthil and Rajiv will be competing in the AR250 class and will be riding the race spec CBR250RR. Mohamed Mikail and Kritik Habib will be racing in the Thai Talent Cup for the first time. From bagging top positions in Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup last year to getting an opportunity to compete in the upcoming international races, these young riders have come a long way. Mikail and Habib will compete in the AF 250 class, astride the NSF250R bikes in the Thai Talent Cup.
Apart from the Indian contingent, there are a five international riders – Dimas Ekky Pratama, Somkiat Chantra, Kaito Toba, Ai Ogura, Zaghwan Zaidi – who will be representing the team in Moto2, Moto3 class in 2019 MotoGP season. This team will compete in the prestigious All Japan Road Race Championship, Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Race and new ASB1000 class of Asia Road Racing Championship in 2019.
Rajiv Sethu on the upcoming ARRC season
“This is my third year in ARRC, and I’m very thankful to Honda 2Wheelers India for giving me this great platform. I am realising my dreams to grow my skills and prove myself in international championships. With every season, I am going a step closer to my dreams. For 2019 my preparation has been the toughest with Honda’s best in class training facilities. This year I am challenging myself to climb even further and strive to close the season in top 15.”
Senthil Kumar on his debut in ARRC
“I feel very blessed to get international opportunities with Honda in just 2 years since start of my professional racing. ARRC will be my first ever exposure to the Asia’s toughest race. I am extremely happy and excited to be a part of the Idemitsu Honda Racing team and representing India on international soil. It is a dream opportunity for me after Thai Talent Cup and I’ve prepared day and night for to make our country proud. Looking forward for a great learning with team Honda!”
Prabhu Nagaraj, vice president – brand and communications, HMSI
“Honda is driven by a challenging spirit and passion to win. A lot of people have high expectations from us, so we will work hard as a team to get the best possible results. With 2 of India’s most promising riders representing the Idemitsu Honda Racing India at Asia level, we are aiming that our boys climb the top group and make India proud on the international stage in 2019. Last year, we announced our motorsport direction. And now, staying true to our commitment, we are fast-tracking the development of 2 next generation riders to the Asian platform. Starting from identifying high potential riders as young as 13 years through our ‘Idemitsu Honda India Talent Hunt’ to aiming to develop a top Indian rider for MotoGP, Honda has an aggressive roadmap to support young Indian riders to realize their dreams.”
ARRC is part of the production-based category of racing, similar to the Supersport World Championship. This year the Championship will feature four main classes. This includes the newly introduced premier class of Asia Super Bike 1000 over and above the existing three classes SuperSports 600cc, Asia Production 250cc, and the Underbone 150cc.