The Superbike, Superstock and Supersport winners of the first two rounds of 2018 all extended their championship leads at the weekend, as the FMSCT All Thailand Superbike Championship returned to Thailand Circuit for Round 3, by making it three wins from three starts apiece.
After some rain on Saturday, cloudy but dry weather on Sunday made for perfect racing conditions in front of a large crowd at the 2.5 kilometre Nakhonchaisri track.
SUPERBIKE SB-1 saw qualifying and racing going very much to form. Yamaha Riders’ Club’s Anucha Nakcharoensri put in a stunning lap of 1’19.55 to take pole position, which was 0.329s faster than Core Kawasaki’s Thitipong Warakorn, who also got beneath the 1’20 mark. Thitipong’s team-mate, Chaiwichit Nisakul, completed the front row thanks to a lap of 1’20.367, which was 1.5 seconds cear of Suhathai Chaemsap, who led the second row from SB-1 Pro-Rookies, Or Pitabuth, Chitpong Ruankaew and Natthapol Wongwutiyan.
Breaking the pattern of previous races, Thitipong got to the front on lap one, chased aggressively by Anucha from Suhathai and Chaiwichit. As they entered the final turn on lap three, a hard move up the inside by Chaiwichit forced Suhathai wide and the second Kawasaki moved into third.
After 10 laps, Thitipong began to look more comfortable at the front, as Anucha fought to stay in contact. They were stretching their advantage over Chaiwichit, while Suhathai tried to regain the ground he had lost to the Kawasaki with some success, as he matched the pace of the bike in front. By lap 12 Thitipong had a lead of more than one second and it was looking like game over as Anucha visibly struggled with braking and corner speed in the final laps. In the end Thitipong won by 6.6 seconds, while Chaiwichit kept his third place safe from the hard charging Suhathai.
ANUPARB SARMOON ONCE AGAIN DOMINATED SUPERSTOCK ST-1 for Yamaha Powerspeed Racing Team.
Anuparb’s pole position was earned with a lap of 1’20.996 after being pushed by Ben Fortt on the NU-Rangsit Dr Bike Top 1 Kawasaki, who got within 0.245 to take the middle slot on the front row by nine-thousandths from Yamaha Devil Eagle Power’s Prawat Yanwut. The Kawasaki of Apidej Boonsri was three tenths back on 1’21.537 to lead the second row from ST-1 Pro-Rookies Ussawin Khongtonpaisan on the UTR Dr Bike Kawasaki and Wutthichai Namsiri on the SPW Performance Suzuki.
Anuparb flew off the start line and pushed his R1 hard on lap one to gap Prawat, Apidej and Ben Fortt, whose launch was hampered by a clutch problem.
As each bike opened up a gap on the one behind, the race settled down, with Prawat finishing 12.7 seconds behind Anuparb and Apidej putting in a solid performance to take third another 22 seconds behind. Ben Fortt managed his slipping clutch to nurse his ZX-10R into fourth, comfortably clear of Ussawin and Wutthichai.
PEERAPONG BOONLERT SHOWED HIS CLASS once again to see off two strong Supersport 600 rivals in Sitthisak Aonchaweang and Kanatat Jaiman in both qualifying and the race.
The Yamaha KYB IRC DID Motul rider had his work cut out to fend off the attentions of Thai Honda Racing Club’s Sitthisak, who briefly took the lead on lap 6 before having it snatched back a few turns later by the Yamaha. Kanatat kept close behind the first two until around half distance, when he began to fade. It was an impressive win by Peerapong, who was recently confirmed as joining Anuparb and Prawat to defend their Suzuka 4 Hour title this month for Yamaha Thailand. He crossed the line more than five seconds clear of the Honda, who was another 22 seconds ahead of Kanatat.
R2M POWERGIRLS WS-1 saw another win for TS Racing’s Ratchada Nakcharoensri after starting from the back of the grid following problems in qualifying. It took her two laps to ahead of the Racing Project Mobius Kawasaki of Peerapat Chokdumrongsuk and Sukunya Panlom for Lady Rider Racing Team.
As Ratchada cruised clear at the front, Sukanya consolidated her second place from the fast improving Peerapat, who was in turn clear of Waraporn Wiriyahyuttamar in fourth, which was the finishing order in front of the WS-2 Rookies.
The next round of the FMSCT All Thailand Superbike Championship will be this coming weekend at Chang International Circuit.