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SAATC2015: Sepang test draws to a close

The 22 young riders that will compete in the 2nd edition of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup have completed 3 days of testing in Malaysia.

Under the watchful eye of Alberto Puig and HRC MotoGPв„ў test rider Hiroshi Aoyama, the young hopefuls completed three days of testing in intense heat at the Sepang International Circuit. For 13 of the riders it was the first time that they had been able to get their hands on the Honda NSF250R Moto3в„ў bike that they will ride throughout the 12 races that make up the season.

The riders, following the instructions of Puig and Aoyama closely, completed an average of 63 laps each day with the focus being not only on constantly improving their times but also on minimising any mistakes. It obviously worked, as despite track temperatures reaching almost 60 degrees, there were only 15 accidents over the three days, with none of the young hopefuls sustaining an injury. With safety in mind, the last day was spent preparing the riders for what will actually happen when the championship starts and included time for each of them to practice how to start a race, how to line up on the grid and much more.

While this is only the first time many of the riders will have had to ride their bikes in anger, lap times always play a part in testing, and for the riders returning to compete in their second season it was a chance to see how far they had progressed since last year.

Somkiat Chantra, who finished 11th in the Cup in 2014, was the fastest over the course of the three days beating last year pole position time by over a second. He wasn't the only one to improve though, with Rasol, Atiratphuvapat, Kunimine and Sasaki also beating the best lap recorded at the circuit last year, while Japanese rider Kabuki Masaki was the fastest of the rookies.

Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Director Alberto Puig was happy after the test: "It has been three busy days, where we have been able to complete the work plan. The new riders have been able to get to understand the bike and improve each session. I think we're ready for the first race in Thailand, where surely be two groups, with there being a gap between most of the rookies and those returning from last season. But I trust by midseason more riders will be fighting in the leading group, which will make the races more interesting if possible. “

The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup brings together the best young racers from Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China and Australia, to battle it out over 12 races held over 6 weekends. The championship includes races in Qatar, Malaysia, Japan and China, with the first one taking place on 22 March at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand, as a part of round 2 of the WorldSBK championship.

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