Veda Pratama narrowly missed out on victory in Race 1 at the Sepang International Circuit but Race 2 saw the Indonesian bounce back to claim a classy win. Impressive rookie Riichi Takahira picked up P2 in the dry conditions as Zen Mitani opened up his podium account for 2023 with a hard fought P3.
It was Pratama on pole once again and the #7 made sure the holeshot was his down into Turn 1, but Turn 3 saw Race 1 winner Takahira take the lead. By the end of the opening lap, Pratama was down to P3 as Amon Odaki pounced at the final corner to make it an early Japanese rider 1-2 at the front.
In the early exchanges, Takahira got his head down and built a second advantage to the chasing pack. However, with eight laps to go, Pratama reeled in the leader. The latter was soon the pacesetter as Takahira came under pressure from Mitani, with Ryota Ogiwara and Odaki keeping themselves in the podium hunt.
Heading into the closing stages, it was a two-way fight for victory between Pratama and Takahira. However, Pratama pulled the pin and heading onto the final lap the gap was up to 1.7s. Pratama made no mistake and claimed his first victory of the season, beating Takahira by a comfortable 2.3s, as Mitani edged out Ogiwara for the final podium spot after Odaki highsided out of P3 at Turn 6 on the final lap.
Jakkreephat Phuettisan completed the top five to finish just ahead of Hamad Al-Sahouti, Hafizd Fahril Rasyadan, Farres Putra, Farish Hafiy and Ahmad Darwisy, as the riders rounding out the top 10 crossed the line just 1.4s seconds apart.
So at the end of Round 1, Pratama and Takahira leave with 45 points apiece after sharing the P1 and P2 prizes, with Mitani heading to Round 2 in Japan third in the overall standings.