India's Rajiv Sethu and Senthil Kumar clocked their personal-best timings in the practice session of the AP 250 cc class of the seventh and final round of the Asian Road Racing Championship (ARRC) at Chang International circuit here on Friday.
Eyeing a top-10 finish in the main races, the 21-year old Sethu of the Idemitsu Honda Racing India team was at his fastest ever in free practice sessions at the Chang circuit.
With a gap of only 2:045 seconds from the Indonesian lead rider Rafid Topan, who stopped the clock at 1:53:039, Sethu clocked his best practice lap time of 1:55:084 in the category witnessing intense competition among Asian riders.
Senthil also showed consistent improvement. The rookie finished 21st on the grid, recording his personal best practice lap time of 1:56:942.
The 18-year-old Senthil seems to be gaining confidence with each round of the ARRC and has significantly reduced his gap with lead rider to 3.903 seconds in comparison to the 4.628 sec gap in round 3 at the same circuit.
The title in the Asia Production 250 class title is still up for grabs and there was not much to separate the top 15 riders. Coming out on top in today's combined practice sessions was Indonsian Rafid Topan Sucipto (1:53:039) followed by AP Honda Racing team's Thai rider duo of Piyawat Patoomyos (1:53:157) and Muklada Sarapuech (1:53:194).
Sethu and Senthil are aiming to shine in the qualifying on Saturday and races over the weekend. While Rajiv aims for a top 10 finish; Senthil is eyeing a top 15 finish.
"Today, I entered FP 1 with a mindset to adapt fast to the track and bike, since it has been two months since the last ARRC round. My feeling was good in FP 1. By afternoon's FP 2, I tried different riding techniques and was 1 second faster," Sethu said.
"In FP3, my main objective was to better my cornering for tomorrow. This time, competition is really close and micro-seconds matter. Tomorrow, my focus is to qualify in the Top 10 and pick up further from there in the afternoon race," he added.
Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, said, "Today, our boys performance have improved in the practice sessions. Rajiv Sethu entered each practice session with a plan to improve on his past mistakes and closed in top 15. Senthil too is now in the 1:56 sec time. We are confident of a strong grid position in the morning qualifier."
Meanwhile, Honda Group Companies team Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA fared strongly in the inaugural Asia Superbike 1000cc class at the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 too. Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi closed in Top 3 with 1:36:544 lap time a mere 0.421 sec of the lead rider Azlan Shah in the ASB 1000 practice.
Also, Honda Racing India's 19-year old Kritik Habib returned to Chang circuit for the Thailand Talent Cup (Honda's development programme for Asian riders run on Moto3 machine NSF250R). Karnataka lad Kritik Habib recorded a lap time of 1:52:949 in FP1.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)