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Sarath, Rajiv set for Thailand campaign

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Buriram (Thailand), April 13: India’s Shankar Sarath Kumar and Rajiv Sethu, both representing RAMA Honda Racing team by NTS T.Pro Ten10 team, will renew their respective campaigns in the second round of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Chang International Circuit here on Friday, hoping to improve on their performance in the previous outing in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, a fortnight ago.

Sarath Kumar, participating in the SuperSport 600cc class on a Honda CBR 600WR bike, picked up points in both the races in Johor while Sethu, astride the all new Honda CBR 250RR, made his debut in the highly competitive Asia Production 250cc.

Both the Chennai-based riders, supported by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, Honda Motorsports Japan and John Sudheer of RAMA Group of Companies, are part of a five-rider team that includes Japan’s Tiga Hada who delivered a double podium in Johor.

Sarath, shrugging off a collar bone injury that he suffered after a crash during pre-season test session, put in two impressive rides in Johor as he improved his time with each outing.

“I need to focus on my pace in Round 2. This circuit is fast and is one of my favourite as compared Johor. I am now feeling more confident on the bike and I hope good results will come from Round 2.

“I have been working hard on adapting to SuperSport style of riding. In Johor, I was still riding the 600 like a 250cc, carrying a lot of corner speed and losing precious time exiting the corner. Now, after a lot of data analysis and inputs from my team, I have started adapting to the big bike and I hope to score more points.

“The only setback is a crack in my collar bone from the crash during pre-season test, but I think, it is manageable. Honda and my team have been very supportive and I hope I give them something good this round,” said Sarath on the eve of the Buriram round.

Sethu, who is aiming for a top-15 finish here, said: “The AP250 category is very competitive. I have to come to terms with the competition and it is important that the all new Honda CBR250RR should be set up right. This bike is brand new, very powerful and a perfect package for the road racing.

“My expectations for this round is to finish in top 15 which in itself will be a great improvement on my lap times and riding. It’s a step by step learning.”

John Sudheer, Team Ambassador and Director RAMA Group of Companies: “I am very excited about Thailand round as I enjoy the circuit a lot as compared to the others in the season. Also, Thailand is like my second home. The crowd here is electrifying and with the season of Songkran Festival, we are sure there will be a lot of celebration at the circuit and if we can add some cheer to the festival with some victory by Tiga Hada and improved performance by our Indian racers, I will be very glad.”

Ramji Govindarajan, Team Manager: “Our season kicked off well with double podiums in Round 1 by Tiga Hada who has been a transformation this year. We expect some fireworks from Tomoyashi Koyama on CBR250RR this round. With regard to our own boys, we hope Sarath to have a better run in Chang International Circuit as his understanding of the bike has improved as compared to last year and even the first round. For Rajiv Sethu, this will be learning year for him which he can from his teammates who have over 30 years of combined experience racing and we are confident that he will improve his performance as the development of the new Honda CBR250RR Improves. Overall, we expect a good race across both AP250 and SS600.”