Race 2 saw the Indonesian take a giant leap towards claiming the 2023 title as he beats Odaki and Phuettisan to victory in Thailand.
One hand and four fingers are what Veda Pratama has on the 2023 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup winner’s trophy after rebounding from Race 1’s final corner disappointment to win on Sunday morning in Thailand. Amon Odaki and Saturday winner Jakkreephat Phuettisan claimed podiums as Zen Mitani and Shinya Ezawa crashed out of the lead group.
Launching well from pole position again, Pratama grabbed the holeshot ahead of Phuettisan as a battle for the podium places and race lead began to rage from Lap 1. In the early stages, the top 15 were split by just over two seconds but heading into the final handful of laps, a top seven had formed – Pratama, Odaki, Phuettisan, Mitani, Ezawa, Ryota Ogiwara and Shinya Ezawa.
Drama then unfolded with five laps to go. Mitani, running in P2, highsided out of contention on the exit of Turn 7 and unable to avoid the Japanese rider’s stricken machine, Ezawa crashed out too. Both riders were taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
That left five riders fighting for the race win. Pratama led onto the final lap and held station until Odaki made a creative move stick at Turn 9, as once again it came down to the final corner. Odaki went defensive but was slightly too deep, which allowed Pratama to take a wider, sweeping, cutback line – and it was a move that handed the Indonesian a sixth victory of the season. Odaki was less than a tenth away from victory, with Phuettisan claiming P3 to cap off a wonderful weekend for the Thai rider on home soil.
Ogiwara and Takahira narrowly missed out on the podium in P4 and P5 respectively, as Farish Hafiy, Marianos Nikolis, Farres Putra and Reykat Fadilah battled it out inside the top 10, with Hamad Al-Sahouti finishing P10 a couple of seconds off the group ahead.
So that’s it from Thailand! A home race winner and Pratama taking a huge step towards being crowned Champion made Round 4 a memorable one, as we look ahead to the penultimate round of the season taking place in Malaysia.