2013 Asia Road Racing Championship

  • Asia Road Racing Championship Round 6, Qatar
  • SuperSports 600cc
  • Date: 23 November, 2013
  • Circuit: Losail (5.380 km)

After a Fierce Last Round Battle, Fujiwara Closes Out the Season Ranked 2nd

#37 Katsuaki Fujiwara

Katsuaki Fujiwara arrived at Losail International Circuit in Qatar for the final race of the Asia Road Racing Championship trailing the points leader by 19.5 points. Located about 30 km away from Doha, Losail Circuit is 5.380 km in length, has sixteen corners and a straightaway that is almost one kilometer long. This high-speed course is surrounded by arid desert, yet strangely enough it rained on the two days prior to the event, the first time this has happened in thirty years!

Report

At last year's event a combination of fine sand on the track and low track temperatures caused tyre troubles for most teams. As a result, Dunlop, the official supplier for the series, brought two rear tyres with different compounds to Qatar, and the regulations were changed to allow riders to choose the tyre they preferred.

Riders tested the two tyres during the two free practice sessions on the first day, with most choosing the harder compound.

 During qualifying on the 22nd, former WSB and Suzuka 8-Hour rider Broc Parkes (YAMAHA) quickly set the fastest time. But as qualifying progressed, the regular riders soon got up to speed, with pole position going to Azlan Kamaruzaman (HONDA) at 2'05.379 just ahead of Zamri Baba (YAMAHA) at 2'05.580. Parkes ended up third fastest at 2'05.781, followed by Fujiwara in fourth at 2'05.903.

 During qualifying on the 22nd, former WSB and Suzuka 8-Hour rider Broc Parkes (YAMAHA) quickly set the fastest time. But as qualifying progressed, the regular riders soon got up to speed, with pole position going to Azlan Kamaruzaman (HONDA) at 2'05.379 just ahead of Zamri Baba (YAMAHA) at 2'05.580. Parkes ended up third fastest at 2'05.781, followed by Fujiwara in fourth at 2'05.903.

Race day was clear and hot, and racing got underway at 5:20 pm, just as the sun was setting. The temperatures quickly dropped from almost 30°C to a much more comfortable 24°C, with the track cooling to 25°C. Then the lights came on and it was time to go racing!

Off the line for Race 1 it was Kamaruzaman grabbing the holeshot, followed by Parkes, Baba, Yuki Ito (YAMAHA), Fujiwara and Yudhistira. Kamaruzaman is headed to Moto2 next year and it was clear from the start that he badly wanted to take this title with him. He was charging hard and lapping steadily in the low 2'05s. But Fujiwara was lapping just as fast and by lap four had closed in on Kamaruzaman, with Baba and Parkes right behind. They were followed by young Ito and Yudhistira. The battle for spots behind the leader was simply ferocious, with multiple position changes on every lap.

 By mid-race Kamaruzaman was pulling ahead, leaving the others to fight over 2nd. Fujiwara did his best to stay with him but came under attack from Baba and was unable to get away. Hero of the battle for 2nd was the rookie Yudhistira who at one point fought his way up to 3rd. The fight for 2nd continued to the last lap, with Baba, Parkes and Fujiwara going at it tooth and nail. Only at the very end did Fujiwara manage to gap the others and take the checkers in 2nd, followed by Baba, Parkes, Ito, and Yudhistira.

The start of Race 2, the final race of the season, was delayed when a rider fell on the sighting lap, resulting in the race being shortened from 15 laps to 13. At the start time of 9:50 pm, the air temp was 22°C while the track surface had cooled to 19.5°C.

Kamaruzaman again grabbed the holeshot, with Parkes 2nd and Fujiwara glued to his rear wheel in 3rd. Early on Parkes and Kamaruzaman took turns leading. Fujiwara stalked the leading duo, followed closely by Baba and Ito. On lap four Parkes made a mistake in Turn 1, allowing Kamaruzaman to gap him, but by mid-race Fujiwara had taken the lead. However, Kamaruzaman was determined to take the double win and with it his first title. On lap eight he grabbed the lead back from Fujiwara in the first corner. Then Parkes got by Fujiwara and set off after Kamaruzaman, but Kamaruzaman held him off and took the victory, taking the championship with a brilliant double win.

Fujiwara beat Baba for 3rd to end the season ranked 2nd in the standings.

Although Fujiwara took the title in his first year of ARRC competition in 2011, the emergence of strong contenders in 2012 and 2013 made those championships intensely competitive and kept Fujiwara from the top spot. But next year he'll be hungrier than ever and fighting for the wins. Fujiwara's battle for championship glory continues next year!

Thank you to all our fans — your heartfelt support is truly appreciated.

  • #37 Katsuaki Fujiwara
  • #37 Katsuaki Fujiwara
  • #37 Katsuaki Fujiwara

Results

Race 1

Pos. No. Rider Machine
1 25 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman Honda
2 37 Katsuaki Fujiwara Kawasaki
3 52 Md Zamri Baba Yamaha
4 32 Broc John Parkes Yamaha
5 76 Yuki Ito Yamaha
6 33 H A Yudhistira Kawasaki
7 162 Mohamad Fadli Kawasaki
8 71 Tomoyoshi Koyama Honda
9 34 Satoru Iwata Honda
10 59 Ratthapong Wilairot Honda
11 634 Ryuta Kobayashi Honda
12 26 Ahmad Fuad Baharudin Kawasaki
13 91 Jakkrit Swangswat Honda
14 93 Md Farid Badrul Hisham Yamaha
15 50 Mitsunori Okamura Kawasaki
16 21 Md Zaqhwan Zaidi Honda
17 9 Makoto Inagaki Yamaha
18 99 Md Ramdan Rosli Yamaha
19 23 Hazlanshah Md Noor Kawasaki
20 100 Makoto Tamada Honda

Race 2

Pos. No. Rider Machine
1 25 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman Honda
2 32 Broc John Parkes Yamaha
3 37 Katsuaki Fujiwara Kawasaki
4 52 Md Zamri Baba Yamaha
5 162 Mohamad Fadli Kawasaki
6 33 H A Yudhistira Kawasaki
7 76 Yuki Ito Yamaha
8 71 Tomoyoshi Koyama Honda
9 634 Ryuta Kobayashi Honda
10 91 Jakkrit Swangswat Honda
11 26 Ahmad Fuad Baharudin Kawasaki
12 21 Md Zaqhwan Zaidi Honda
13 50 Mitsunori Okamura Kawasaki
14 9 Makoto Inagaki Yamaha
15 34 Satoru Iwata Honda
16 59 Ratthapong Wilairot Honda
17 99 Md Ramdan Rosli Yamaha
18 23 Hazlanshah Md Noor Kawasaki
19 100 Makoto Tamada Honda

2013 Asia Road Racing Championship Standings

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