Malaysia’s Shafiq Rasol won the first of the two Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup races scheduled for this weekend at Sepang. Kaito Toba now leads the standings by two points from Yuta Date ahead of Sunday’s final race of the series.
An exciting race at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix saw all the riders pushing hard to turn their potential into performance with Rasol breaking the Japanese riders’ run of victories so far this year – to delight the home crowd by registering a first win for Malaysia in the inaugural competition.
The title fight between Date, Toba and Ayumu Sasaki comes to a head this weekend, as the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup reaches it conclusion with races eight and nine of the season. In Saturday’s contest it was Toba who took the initiative from the start, leading the race and setting a strong pace to try and break clear of his rivals.
Rasol and Takuma Kunimine stayed with Toba at the front, whilst Date overcame a slower start to increase the front group to four. Meanwhile, Sasaki was somewhat behind, and in his efforts to join the leading group he went down on the sixth lap, meaning his title chances came to an end.
The four at the front exchanged positions but none of them could escape, so the race went down to the last corner, with Rasol judging it to perfection, crossing the finish line in first place, followed by Toba and Date.
With this result, Toba is the new standings leader, two points ahead of Date. Just who takes the title will only become clear in Sunday’s ninth and final race of the 2014 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, which takes place at midday local time – ahead of the Moto3™ Grand Prix race at Sepang.