Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup

【2022 Season Review】Danish wins a close battle to become first Malaysian champion

【2022 Season Review】Danish wins a close battle to become first Malaysian champion

The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup is a gateway for young Asian riders aiming to race in MotoGP. After a 2020 season that ended after the opening round due to COVID, and a 2021 season where some races were canceled due to the pandemic, 2022 went largely according to schedule, with six rounds / 11 races hosted.

Japanese riders dominate podium in season-opener

The opening round was held in March, coinciding with the MotoGP Qatar GP. Race 1 was a battle between three Japanese riders up to the very end, with rookie Shinya Ezawa edging out Gun Mie by a mere 0.04 seconds to finish first, followed by Amon Odaki in third place, 0.059 seconds behind. In tRace 2, Odaki won his first IATC race, overcoming a battle for the lead that had swelled to a 10-way battle.

The second round, coinciding with the MotoGP Indonesia GP, was also a chaotic affair. In Race 1, Hakim Danish (Malaysia) won after Mie, who had finished on the podium in the previous round, crashed, Odaki also retired. After two races, Danish led in the championship standings, with Ezawa trailing by one point.

Shinya Ezawa in Round 3, Japan
Shinya Ezawa in Round 3, Japan

Title contender Ezawa wins at home round

After a break of almost six months, Round 3 was held at Mobility Resort Motegi on September. Two races were scheduled, but due to rain on Saturday moving the MotoGP schedule, only one race was held on Sunday. Despite a tight battle for the lead, Ezawa fended off Danish and Hamad Al-Saousi (Qatar) to take the win, just 0.061 seconds ahead of Danish in second place.

Hakim Danish in Round 4, Thailand
Hakim Danish in Round 4, Thailand

Round 4 was held the following week in Thailand. In Race 1, the four-rider duel went right down to the final turn, with Danish in first place by 0.046 seconds, followed by Veda  Pratama (Indonesia) in second, and Mie in third place by the narrowest of margins.

In Race 2, Pratama made a mid-race spurt to open up a 7-second gap to take the checkered flag and his first win of the season, with Mie, who was also on the podium in Race 1, in second and Thompson, who narrowly missed the podium in Race 1, in third. Ezawa, who is fighting for the championship, finished fourth, and Danish seventh. Danish, who won Race 1, headed into the two remaining rounds with a seven-point lead over Ezawa.

Carter Thompson in Round 5, Malaysia
Carter Thompson in Round 5, Malaysia

Title fight remains close into final round

The final round, Round 5 was held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. In Race 1, Danish and Pratama, who had been performing well in the previous rounds, crashed out of the race. Carter Thompson (Australia), Mie, and Rei Wakamatsu fought a fierce three-way battle, with Thompson taking his first win.
In Race 2, Danish, who crashed in Race 1, outpaced Pratama to win by a narrow margin, winning his home race. Ezawa finished third, three points behind overall leader Danish.

Veda Pratama in Round 6, Indonesia
Veda Pratama in Round 6, Indonesia

Pratama dominates home races in Indonesia

The final round of the season was held in Indonesia. In Race 1, hometown favorite Pratama won by a 7 second gap in a dominating performance. Ezawa and Danish were in a tight battle behind, but Thompson overtook both when they went wide on the last lap to take second place. Danish held off Ezawa to finish third and extend his lead to six points heading into Race 2.

The championship went down to the line in Race 2, and it was Pratama who took the win in this final battle, following his victory in Race 1. Danish and Ezawa finished second and third, giving Danish the championship.

Hakim Danish in Round 6, Indonesia
Hakim Danish in Round 6, Indonesia

This season's IATC was full of non-stop, heated and closely contested races, with five winners in 11 races. Among them, Danish, with four wins and consistent results, became the first Malaysian champion. Ezawa was second overall with two wins, and Pratama, who had a great run in the second half of the season, was third.

Point Ranking

Pos. Rider Num. Team Constr. Pts
1 Hakim DANISH 13 - Honda 187
2 Shinya EZAWA 21 - Honda 177
3 Veda PRATAMA 7 - Honda 141
4 Gun MIE 5 - Honda 135
5 Carter THOMPSON 6 - Honda 102
6 Hamad AL-SAHOUTI 23 - Honda 91
7 Amon ODAKI 14 - Honda 89
8 Reykat FADILLAH 15 - Honda 86
9 Rei WAKAMATSU 2 - Honda 85
10 Jakkreephat PHUETTISAN 20 - Honda 77
11 Marianos NIKOLIS 12 - Honda 60
12 Aan RISWANTO 3 - Honda 59
13 Farish HAFIY 19 - Honda 55
14 Diandra TRIHARDIKA 22 - Honda 42
15 Farres PUTRA 8 - Honda 36
16 Thanakorn LAKHARN 9 - Honda 31
17 Thanat LAOONGPLIO 11 - Honda 30
18 Emil IZDHAR 17 - Honda 18
19 Cameron SWAIN 18 - Honda 14
20 Kavin QUINTAL 10 - Honda 5
21 Zachry AKBAR 24 - Honda 4
22 Nguyen TRAN DUC TAI 16 - Honda 4
23 Burapa WANMOON 24 - Honda 2

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