Becomes 1st Indian rider to be selected for 2020 IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup at Sepang

Committed to developing iconic motorsport rider from India for the world, Honda 2Wheelers India Pvt. Ltd. announced that Mohamed Mikail – the 2018 IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Hunt find and running 2019 IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup (NSF250R) champion has made a new record. Just 2 years into racing with Honda, the 15-year-old rider Mohamed Mikail from Chennai is now the first Indian rider to join the prestigious 2020 IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup (IATC) grid.

Mohamed Mikail was among the 5 young riders from India to participate in the selection for 2020 season of IATC at Sepang circuit of Malaysia. These included 13-year-old Sarthak Shrikant Chavan from Pune, 14-year-old Kavin Samaar Quintal, 15-year-old Geoffrey and 16-year-old Varoon S. from Chennai.

Since its inaugural season in 2014, the IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup is Dorna’s development platform for young riders in the Asia & Oceania region. One of the key objective is to ensure development of future generations of such new talented riders, who will eventually take the place of current stars of MotoGP™ and WorldSBK.

Honda Racing India’s Mikail journeys from 90 registrations to final 12:

This year’s Selection Event saw drier skies than last year, allowing nearly 90 young riders from over 15 countries to prove their racing mettle throughout the day around Sepang Go-Kart track. After 3 consecutive short listings based on actual riding, the Selection Committee, led by Talent Promotion Director Alberto Puig (a former premier class racer and renowned talent scout) selected a total of 17 riders from India, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan and Turkey. While 12 selected riders including India’s Mikail are selected to join the grid next year, another 5 are on the reserve list.

Elaborating on this achievement by Indian riders and Honda’s plans to nurture Indian riders for the world, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., said: “In 2018, Honda announced its biggest racing shift. Since then, our focus is to develop next-generation iconic Indian rider for the world. Our first step was to identify high-potential riders as young as 13 years with our ‘IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Hunt’. These stars of future were further armed with the world class racing infrastructure. We were the first to bring NSF250R – Honda’s Moto3 race machine for Indian riders. In our journey to develop a top Indian rider for MotoGP, we are giving young Indian riders international racing opportunities like ARRC and Thailand Talent Cup. We are confident that, boosted by his team, Mikhail will make India proud at world stage and inspire young riders like him.”

Mohamed Mikail’s racing journey began in 2018, when the Chennai racing prodigy was first identified by Honda 2Wheelers India in the Season 1 of IDEMITSU Honda Talent Hunt.

In his inaugural year itself, 15-year-old Mikail showed raw racing talent and closed the season as Champion of IDEMITSU Honda Talent Cup in CBR 150R class. Spotting his potential earlier on, Honda put him on an accelerated growth path.

In 2019, Mikail got his first international racing taste in the ongoing Thailand Talent Cup. In the national road racing scenario too, Mikail was also among first 8 next-gen Indian riders to get the opportunity to race on NSF250R – Honda’s legendary Moto3 race machine platform. Showing true challenging spirit, Mikhail created a new best ever lap time record on a 250cc motorcycle at MMRT circuit (Chennai) and ultimately won the inaugural IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup in NSF250R class too.

Quote by Mohamed Mikail, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider: “First, I would like to thank Honda 2Wheelers India, my team and our sponsors for giving me this big opportunity to race on the world stage. My racing journey ever since Honda 2Wheelers India shortlisted me in 2018 season of Honda Talent Hunt has been nothing short of a dream come true. With Honda 2Wheelers India giving wings to me, I got the opportunity to improve my skills internationally with best of Thai riders in 2019 Thailand Talent Cup. Thanks to Honda for bringing IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup on NSF250R – Honda’s Moto3 platform machine, I feel more confident on this world class race machine. As the solo Honda rider from India, I will work hard with the team and do my best in every race.”

2020 IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup race calendar:

For Mohamed Mikail and the other Asia-Oceania stars of the future, racing action starts from February 2020 with pre-season testing. This will give Mikail a closer look at the characteristics of the Honda NSF250R Moto3™ bikes and his competition. This will also help him learn the trajectories, response of the suspension, and also better his understanding of the limits of braking – a challenge for the talented young riders as they take a step up onto this more demanding machinery.

Overall, the 7th edition of IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup will be a 12-race championship held over 6 rounds from March to November 2020. The 2020 season kick-starts from Qatar (Losail circuit) and then travels to Thailand (Buriram) in the MotoGPTM weekends. Round 3 at Australia (Bend) and Round 4 at Malaysia (Sepang) will be staged alongside the Australian & Malaysian Superbike Championships. The last 2 rounds will once again see Asia’s young stars battle it out in Japan (Motegi) and then Malaysia (Sepang) in MotoGP™ race week-ends.

Champions of previous editions of IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup (IATC):

Springing to life in 2014, the IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup has birthed some real gems who are now making a name for themselves on the world stage. The 2014 title winner of IATC, Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) won the 2019 Qatar GP in Moto3 class. Making impressive debut in Grand Prix with IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia are also the 2016 IATC Champion Somkiat Chantra from Thailand in Moto2 class and 2016 IATC runner-up Ai Ogura made impressive debuts in Moto 3 class.