Honda India team heads to Japan for next ARRC challenge

Rachit Thukral

The Indian team heads to the Japanese Grand Prix venue on the back of a strong weekend in Thailand, where Rajiv Sethu underlined his pace by qualifying inside the top seven.

Although Suzuka hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Sethu in the past, the upturn in his performance this season, combined with the experience of competing in Suzuka 4 Hour Endurance race this month, should put him in contention for another double points haul.

“This season has boosted my confidence by leaps and bounds,” said Sethu, who sits 14th in the Asia Production 250cc standings with 22 points.

“With 7 wild card entries, the competition becomes more tough now. But my practice and training on home ground as well as Suzuka for the 4HR endurance has given me more strength and confidence to finish in top 10 and extend the positive streak of results.”

ARRC rookie Senthil Kumar secured points on his debut in Malaysia earlier this year, but has since struggled to finish inside the top 15.

Like Raju, Senthil also took part in the Suzuka 4 Hour endurance race, which means he is now fully versed with the Japanese race track.

“I am looking forward to racing on the Suzuka Circuit again after testing my skills in 4 hours Suzuka endurance race earlier this month,” he said.

“I now enter the round 4 with much more confidence and I will give my 100% to this championship.”

The Honda India team currently sits inside the top seven in the championship standings just before the halfway mark of the season, and the company's de facto motorsport chief Prabhu Nagaraj sees this as a major “turnaround” over its 2018 results.

“2019 is a turnaround for our solo Indian team at ARRC,” said Nagaraj, who holds the rank of Vice President, Brand and Communication at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.

“Rajiv is already winning points from first race of the season and has climbed to fight with top 5 in his last race in Buriram. Senthil is also showing improvement in his race craft. 

“Knowing fully the potential of our trainers and intensive programme, we are pumped and ready to take on the challenges that come with this track.”

As is the case with every round, Suzuka will host two AP250 races, split equally between Saturday and Sunday. Friday will be dedicated to practice, before qualifying on Saturday morning.