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Kakeru makes it a Round 1 double at Chang International Circuit

racers on the podium
Kakeru achieved a double victory in round 1.

Having toiled in the late afternoon heat in Race 1, air and track temperatures were a lot more bearable for the 19 starters on Sunday morning for Race 2 of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Asia Pacific Championship.Huanni Ke’s challenge from the front row ended before the lights went out when he jumped the start.The rest of the field got away cleanly, though, with Ryan Larkin and Tanakit Pratuntong leading up to Turn 3. Sakchai closed up, bringing Theppitak Kraiyafai with him. Behind them, Kakeru Okunuki was catching up quickly from his third row grid position.

The Japanese rider was making a nuisance of himself at the front by lap 2. Ominously for his rivals, he was visibly the quickest through the all-important third sector and looked very much at ease in the lead.Chayakorn Saeong and Natthakorn Kammayee briefly got amongst the leaders before falling off the pace. By lap four, Haydn Fordyce had closed onto the leading group to make it a six-way fight for the win.

As they began the last lap the first six riders were some five seconds clear of the rest. Kakeru kept itcool, staying in the lead and slicing through Sector 3 to give himself enough space to choose his own line through the final turn. Behind him, the other riders spread across the track. Ryan Larkin darted to the inside, but couldn’t get the drive he needed on the exit, so Tanakit and Sakchai claimed the remaining podium places. The Australian finished fourth ahead of Theppitak and Fordyce. Less than a second covered the first six.

The next round of the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Asia Pacific Championship will be in four weeks’ time at Thailand Circuit on 3-5 May 2024.


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