Andreas Gunawan wins the first Suzuki Asian Challenge

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The Suzuki Asian Challenge (SAC) is Suzuki’s rider development program produced and operated by Yukio Kagayama for Asian riders. The series Round 3 was held at Suzuka Circuit, Japan.

Suzuka, currently in the rainy season, was forcasted with rain throughout the race week, but the SAC riders were able to ride this world famous course in dry condition on day 1. Seventeen Suzuki FU150’s lined up at Suzuka on this day.

However, rain did hit Suzuka on day 2. Qualifying session became the first ever wet session for the SAC riders, and for this and the fact that Suzuka is one of the difficult tracks in the world, made it difficult for the riders, in addition to the fact that this was the first time for most riders to run at Suzuka. In this condition, #24 Patis Chooprathet of Thailand, who won races in Malaysia and Indonesia, took pole position. Local favorite, #83 Takeru Murase qualified 2nd. And Andreas Gunawawan of Indonesia slipped into the last grid on the front row.

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The track conditoned worsened by Race 1, which took place on the same day. Andreas made a good start and took the whole shot, as Patis followed. Patis collided with an another rider, and retired, which made it easier for Andreas to run away. The wet track took away several more riders, and at finish, Takeru Murase came in second followed by #46 April King H. Mascardo of the Philippines making the first podium for the team.

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Andreas Gunawan | #43
“I am happy that I was able to finish on the podium, as I did in Malaysia and Indonesia. The track condition was very different in qualifying and the race, so it made it very difficult. And the temperature was low, so it was difficult form me to concentrate. I tried my best not to crash and break the bike, and I was able to win the race. I will concentrate again tomorrow and try to win it again.”

Yukio Kagayama | General Manager
“I would like to thank all people involved and our sponsors that we were able to hold the SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE in SUZUKI’s and my home country.

I believe that the first wet session and the challenging track layout made it difficult for the young riders. Two rounds have already passed, but in this difficult condition, I was able to witness how the riders have already showed progress. I believe that this difficult condition, was a good experience for all of them. I wish that Race 2 tomorrow would be a safe one like today.”

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