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Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Round 1 Race 1 honours to Kakeru in tight Yamaha R3 bLU cRU opener at Chang International Circuit

Updated: May 5

Winner of the 2024 bLU cRU Asia Pacific race
Kakeru Okunuki won the first round race.

The 2024 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Asia Pacific Championship got off to a spectacular start at Chang International Circuit, with a close five-way battle for supremacy in the first race of the season. Earlier in the day, an intriguing qualifying session had seen riders from Thailand, Australia and China take the first three spots on the grid. Tanakit Pratumtong edged pole position from Ryan Larkin, while China’s Huanni Ke put the icing on a strong session to qualify third. Also showing good pace were Theppitak Kraiyafai, Sakchai Kongduangdee and Chaiyakorn Saeong who filled the next three places, while Haydn Fordyce pulled out a decent lap last time around to put himself 7 th . The much fancied Kakeru Okunuki

fell short of expectations and was ninth.

racers race with Yamaha R3
R3 bLUcRU Asia Pacific Round 1 Race 1

With an air temperature of 41 degrees and the track temperature some 12 degrees higher, safety concerns over tyre wear led to the race being reduced from 12 laps to seven. When the lights went out it was Australia’s Ryan Larkin who got the best launch from the middle of the front row. His advantage soon vanished as the 19 starters tore up the long drag to Turn 3. Tanakit drafted through to lead and the first six riders closed up as they came into the 180 degree loop. A pattern quickly formed, and at the end of lap 2 it was Tanakin from Larkin, Kakeru, Sakchai and Huanni, with New Zealand’s Haydn Fordyce working hard to catch up after starting from the third row. It was Kakeru, though, who spent the most time with clear air in front of his number 31 machine. By half distance, China’s Huanni Ke had begun to slip back as Fordyce replaced him in the leading group.

Kakeru Okunuki fights for victory.

At the start of the final lap, Larkin got through to lead, but all five contenders squeezed up as they reached Turn 3 and then slipstreamed their way down to Turn 4. Crucially, Kakeru was first into Turn 5, chased hard by Larkin, Tanakit, Sakchai and Fordyce as things got heated through the technical section. All five fanned out as they arrived for the Turn 12 decider, but they kept it clean and everyone got through without incident. Kakeru made it count to take the win by 0.082s from Larkin. Sakchai completed the podium as the first five flashed through separated by less than seven tenths of a second.Of the six countries represented, four finished in the top five. Two seconds back, Huanni Ke came in

seventh for China, while Mytchell Joshua Ngo was the best Filipino finisher in ninth.For more race photos, please visit the gallery page on our website

Results : Round 1 Race 1


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