Rajiv Sethu notches 2 more points for Honda Racing at Suzuka

As many as nine riders lost traction and crashed out on a Suzuka's slippery tarmac, but Rajiv Sethu kept his cool and finished 14th in a seesaw race on Sunday.

Rajiv Sethu (80) in action in the fourth round of ARRC 2019 at Japan's Suzuka Circuit.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Rajiv Sethu finished 14th to gain two more points for Honda Racing in the fourth round of Asia Road Racing Championship (ARCC) at Japan's Suzuka Circuit on Sunday.

Starting 13th on the grid, Rajiv made a good start and climbed to 7th before last corner of lap 1. But his helmet visor started fogging up leading to near zero visibility. From there on, Rajiv gradually dropped to 16th and pushed on to return to top-15 in lap 5. He got pushed back in lap 6 and in the last lap, Rajiv spotted an opening and overtook the rider before him to finish 14th and gain 2 more points to Honda Racing India.

Shrugging off his 28th-place finish in the first race on Saturday, Senthil achieved his target of a top-20 finish. Starting 24th on the grid, Senthil raised his confidence on the slippery Suzuka tarmac and jumped four positions in the last two laps to secure 20th place.

With curtains down at Suzuka, Honda Racing India is now ranked ninth with 25 points. Rajiv is in the top-15 and rookie rider Senthil is placed 25th with two points.

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Speaking after the race, Rajiv said, “A great start pushed me to 7 but second lap onwards it was very difficult to ride due to visor fog. I couldnt see corners and water patches ahead and started dropping positions. I decided to open my visor in lap 3 but the water back-splash of riders before me held me back. By lap 5, rain stopped for a bit and I pushed hard with rider bunch. Taking the slipstream advantage, I made a move in the last corner of race and finished 14. Zhuhai will be a new track for all riders. Whoever learns fast will make gains and I will push harder there.”

Senthil said he hopes to learn quickly and perform better. “Today’s race was the toughest race for me till now. Not only is Suzuka a tough technical track in itself but the rain and wind made it really hard to push. It’s the first time that I rode in this condition. The first three laps I was blinded by fog in today’s rain. I was opening the visor in every straight and cleaning it to avoid crash. It was only by the 4 lap that I started to make gains and finished 20th. Next up Zhuhai is not only a new track for me but all riders. Hopefully I will learn fast and do better there.”