Lone Filipino rider Tadahito Dashi Watanabe and the rest of Team Suzuki Pilipinas had a fruitful race weekend during the second round of the 2012 Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship held at the Sentul Circuit in Indonesia last June 15 – 17,2012.
Suzuki Team Pilipinas before flag-off at Sentul Circuit, Indonesia
Despite the fact that it was his first time on the circuit and only his second time on the bike, Watanabe was able to improve his lap times in every session and more importantly, managed to finish the weekend without a single crash; a first for the team. The maximized track time brought valuable experience and set-up time not only for the rider but also for the mechanics and engineers who were able to spend more time fine-tuning the bike’s set-up rather than repairing crash damage
Watanabe started Fridays’ first practice with a best of 1:36.407s which he quickly slashed by almost a second in the afternoon session to 1:35.594s. Although he ended up 22nd out of 23 riders, his consistent lap times were important for the team.
On Saturday morning before the third practice, Dashi’s goal was to lower his time by 2 seconds which he successfully managed after some adjustment on the rear suspension. He lowered his time to 1:33.848s and moved up to 20th place, he further brought it down to a 1:33.527s but dropped back to 22nd place as the rest of the field also went much faster. In fact, the pole time of last year was broken by a full second! The standard of competition in the ARRC this year is indeed much higher compared to previous years of the championship with the presence of world class Japanese riders.
Tadahito Dashi Watanabe showing off his years of racing experience on board the Suzuki GSX-R600 at the ARRC
During Sunday’s races, Dashi improved again as he finished 19th in Race 1 and 18th in Race 2 while still lowering his best lap to 1:33.152s. He got a good start in Race 1 and managed to set his fastest lap on Lap 2 but got entangled in a crash that damaged his left boot. He got another good start in Race 2 and was up to 15th place for many laps until track conditions deteriorated. More importantly, he managed to beat the team’s fastest lap achieved by Teshima last year on the same circuit which is a concrete indication that Watanabe and the whole team are moving forward and on the right track.
Suzuki Team Pilipinas mechanics and engineers prepare the Suzuki GSX-R600 for its track time on Sentul Circuit
“Dashi, our new rider is adjusting very well considering it is his first year to ride a Suzuki GSX-R600. He is also adjusting to the new ARRC environment. So please keep on watching and supporting our team!” said Mr. Kobayashi, General Manager of Suzuki Philippines.
Team Suzuki Pilipinas is supported by DENSO Spark Plugs, Motoworld and YRS. The next round of the ARRC will be on August 5 in China.
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