IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup

Round 01 Qatar

  • Nishimura Strikes First to Win Season Opener in Style

    Sho Nishimura kicked off the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup with a perfect performance in Race 1, pulling out all the stops to take the first win of the season in steamrolling style.


Nishimura Strikes First to Win Season Opener in Style


Sho Nishimura

Sho Nishimura

Japanese rider puts on an impressive show of pace and it's a battle royal to complete the podium

Sho Nishimura has kicked off the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup with a perfect performance in Race 1, pulling out all the stops to take the first win of the season in steamrolling style. Behind his dominance at the front it was an almighty battle to complete the podium, with six riders fighting it out for second and Takuma Matsuyama ultimately just beating Warit Thongnoppakun on the line to take second.

At lights out it was a perfect start for Nishimura from pole as Matsuyama got swallowed up slightly from second, and the eventual winner hardly looked back as he started pulling out a gap. Behind him the classic early-lap squabble then began, although Matsuyama and Adenanta Putra were initially able to break away in a duel.

That didn't last long. Tatchakorn Buasri headed up the group chasing them down, on the attack straight away once the gap had been cut. He brought with him Thongnoppakun and impressive rookies Herjun Firdaus and Piyawat Patoomyos, with wildcard Shota Kiuchi also an impressive presence in the group before sadly sliding out of contention.

As the laps ticked down, Nishimura marched on and the battle raged behind – although the two who'd made a break for it earlier tried to repeat the feat. As the final lap began though, it was as tight as ever in the fight for second and it looked like Putra was in control – until he went wide. Trying to gather it back together he tagged back onto the group as Thongnoppakun started to make his move and slice forward, and the podium came down to the drag to the line. There, Matsuyama just took it – 5.5 seconds off Nishimura's victory but just 0.020 ahead of Thongnoppakun in an almost photo-finish.

Fourth went to Putra as he managed to fight back through, ahead of rookie sensations Patoomyos and Firdaus. Buasri was left to take seventh although he'll know there's a big second chance on Sunday after some top pace.

Shoki Igarashi beat Abdul Mutaquim to eighth, with Australian Luke power completing the top ten. Harrison Voight, Hildhan Kusuma, Idil Mahadi, Syarifuddin Azman and Jacob Roulstone scored points in the first contest of the year.

Nishimura Out-Duels Matsuyama in the Desert

Race2 Starting grid

Race2 Starting grid

Japanese duo battle it out as Matsuyama fights back in Race 2

Race 2 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup staged an incredible duel in the desert between Sho Nishimura and Takuma Matsuyama, with only 0.020 deciding it at the line. It went, by that tiny margin, in favor of Nishimura – making it a double and a perfect start to the season with a full 50 points on the board for the Japanese rider. Behind the duel at the front, it was an all-out melee to complete the podium, with Adenanta Putra taking it by the flag. That makes up for a mistake on the last lap of Race 1; the Indonesian pitch perfect on Sunday to open his rostrum account in 2019.

At lights out it was Nishimura who once again got a near-perfect start from pole, and Matsuyama wasn't quite able to replicate it but the number 11 certainly improved on a difficult start to Race 1. From then on, any questions about Matsuyama being able to keep the pace of Nishimura were asked and immediately answered as the two began to pull away in tandem.

Switching positions in some close but fair racing, it was a duel to remember and still they were able to keep the gap to the group behind. That group behind were locked in their own war, however, and some shuffling for position between Putra, rookie Herjan Firdaus, Afridza Munandar, Tatchakorn Buasri and Shoki Igarashi creating some classic Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup moves.

As the laps ticked on it seemed they were out of it and although the gap got smaller as the final lap began, it wasn't quite enough. The duo at the front remained locked in their duel; Nishimura just behind and waiting to pounce on his compatriot. After the two had both seemingly rehearsed the run to the line – and the best position to be in to get the most from the slipstream – it appeared Nishimura had chosen his tactic…

Out the final corner it was exactly that – a slipstream battle to the line. Neck and neck as the flag approached it was gearing up for a photo finish and it didn't disappoint: just 0.020 was the difference; Nishimura pushed all the way after the demolition job in Race 1.

The photo finishes continued in the fight for third. Putra got the better off impressive rookie Firdaus by thousandths, with Munandar equally close to complete the top five and make amends for a Race 1 crash. Buasri took sixth at the head of another duel, again only an infinitesimal 0.019 ahead of Igarashi. Thongnoppakun got the better of Bando, another who crashed in Race 1, for P8, with Australian Harrison Voight completing the top ten at the head of a five rider fight – Malaysian duo Syarifuddin Azman and Idil Mahadi and Indonesians Hildhan Kusuma and Abdul Mutaquim.

Wildcard Shota Kiuchi, who made a big impression on Race 1, crashed out…as well as Australian Luke Power and impressive rookie Piyawat Patoomyos after a fight near the top once again.

So after two different and spectacular races, that's it from Losail. Tune in for more Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup action next weekend in Buriram as the Cup ride alongside WorldSBK for Round 2!


IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup 2019

Race 1

1 Sho Nishimura (Japan)
2 Takuma Matsuyama (Japan)
3 Warit Thongnoppakun (Thailand)
4 Adenanta Putra (Indonesia)
5 Piyawat Patoomyos (Thailand)
6 Herjun Atna Firdaus (Indonesia)
7 Tatchakorn Buasri (Thailand)
8 Shoki Igarashi (Japan)
9 Abdul Gofar Mutaquim (Indonesia)
10 Luke Power (Australia)
11 Harrison Samuel Voight (Australia)
12 Muhammad Hildhan Kusuma (Indonesia)
13 Muhammad Idil Fitri Bin Mahadi (Malaysia)
14 Muhammad Syarifuddin Bin Azman (Malaysia)
15 Jacob John Roulstone (Australia)
16 Kadir Erbay (Turkey)
17 Rei Wakamatsu (Japan)

Race 2

1 Sho Nishimura (Japan)
2 Takuma Matsuyama (Japan)
3 Adenanta Putra (Indonesia)
4 Herjun Atna Firdaus (Indonesia)
5 Afridza Munandar (Indonesia)
6 Tatchakorn Buasri (Thailand)
7 Shoki Igarashi (Japan)
8 Warit Thongnoppakun (Thailand)
9 Ryosuke Bando (Japan)
10 Harrison Samuel Voight (Australia)
11 Muhammad Syarifuddin Bin Azman (Malaysia)
12 Muhammad Idil Fitri Bin Mahadi (Malaysia)
13 Muhammad Hildhan Kusuma (Indonesia)
14 Abdul Gofar Mutaquim (Indonesia)
15 Jacob John Roulstone (Australia)
16 Rei Wakamatsu (Japan)