The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup aims to nurture young riders in Asia to challenge the world stage. The coronavirus pandemic had cut the 2020 season short, down to one round, but seven races in three rounds were held in 2021.
Rounds were planned for Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, but the coronavirus canceled these venues, leaving Qatar and Indonesia.
Taiyo Furusato Dominates
The first two rounds were held a week apart at Losail International Circuit in Qatar. In Round 1 Race 1, Furusato maintained his preseason momentum to win by a 16 second margin. The battle for second place was fierce, with Gun Mie chased by Hakim Danish. The two riders crossed the line side by side, Mie taking second place by 0.001 second. Furusato dominated Race 2 as well, while second place was another hard fought contest between six riders only 0.1 s apart. Kanto Hamada was second, and Danish was once again third.
In Round 2 Race 1 held the following weekend, Daniel Sharil challenged the seemingly unbeatable Furusato, taking the lead in Lap 2. Furusato was soon back in front, beating the pressure to win once again. Sharil was second by 0.115 s, while Kanto was third. In Race 2, the duel between Furusato and Sharil heated up. After a neck and neck battle, Furusato won his fourth consecutive race by 0.041 s.
After a six month gap, Round 3 was held at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in conjunction with the Superbike World Championship. In Race 1, Sharil took pole, and was once again in a battle with Furusato. Sharil pulled ahead of the Japanese rider during the race, but Furusato claimed victory after a last lap overtake. In Race 2, Sharil keeps the lead until the closing stages, and yet again Furusato overtakes on the final lap. Furusato dominated Race 3 as sell, victorious in all seven races to earn the championship title.
Sharil was second for two consecutive rounds, while Mie was third in the same rounds. Their overall standings for the 2021 season were also second and third respectively. In 2022, Furusato joins the Moto3 World Championship with Honda Team Asia.