ENEOS Honda Erula Racing Team’s Rajiv Sethu conquers MMRT with huge 4.757 sec lead!
Mathana Kumar rounds off the double podium for Honda in PS165cc Open Race 1

• IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup NSF250R Cup qualifier – 2019 front-runners Kavin Quintal, Sarthak Chavan and Varoon S start from first line
• Prakash Kamat, Vivek Gaurav and Ikshan Shanbhag top 3 finishers of the IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup CBR150R category

It’s a dream return for Honda racing at the much awaited 2020 season of MRF MMSC FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship (INMRC) kicked-off today at Madras Motor Sports Club, Chennai!

Extending leadership in the National Championship – ProStock 165cc

The sunny Friday saw ENEOS Honda Erula Racing Team impressive trio of Rajiv Sethu, Mathana Kumar and Senthil Kumar set the tone in Pro-stock 165cc national class for the weekend ahead.

While the morning qualifier put Rajiv firmly at the start of the grid, the afternoon race saw him make further headway. Making the most of his strong start, Rajiv stopped the clock at 12:08:653 with a crushing 4.757 seconds lead. He was the only rider to record the fastest lap time of under 2 seconds as well (1:59:476).

From lap 3, the fight for the remaining 2 podiums was firmly on. For the Trichy rider Mathana Kumar, the first race of 2020 was a day of gains. Gaining 3 positions from his 6th position start, Mathana rounded-off Honda’s second podium with his 3rd finish (12:13:445). Meanwhile, despite the nail biting race till race, Senthil finished up 4th, only one-tenth of a second behind Mathana.

Sharing an overview on 2020 season preparations, Mr. Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director – Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., said: “2020 started on a challenging note due to COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, Honda ensured that learning curve did not stop. With over 71 online sessions, our riders improved on their race-craft, fitness and machine understanding. But with all riders having limited track exposure this year, the battle for glory started from ground zero today with riders back on track after a gap of 9 months. Its great to see a double podium finish in PS 165 with Rajiv Sethu and Mathana. For the young NSF250R and CBR150R riders too, today was all about getting back their momentum. For sure, its going to be an exciting weekend for Honda.”

Speaking on riders’ performance, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj – Senior Vice-President, Brand & Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., said: “Honda’s 27 riders are back on track after a long pause. Today our riders performance shows that they are confident and competitive. With his ARRC experience, guidance of team coach Okada san and prime fitness, Rajiv Sethu really was miles ahead. At the same time, Mathana Kumar too showed true racing spirit to notched Honda’s double podium in the PS165cc class. Our 24 young guns returned back to track with full excitement while keeping an eye on the prize. Even though 2020 will be a short season, we are confident after seeing today’s performance that we are headed towards a fantastic season.”

IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup – NSF 250R & CBR150R categories

Parallely, the IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup 2020 focuses on providing accelerated racing platform to groom young potential riders of today in their journey to become India’s star riders of tomorrow. The highlight of 2020 is yet again the 10 young guns in the NSF 250R Honda India Talent cup – the first ever racing platform in the history of Indian motorsports where the next gen riders ride on the Moto3 race machine platform – NSF250R. Feeding into this as first step is the CBR 150R category of IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup with 14 riders, including the youngest of only 12 years of age!

Friday qualifier of IDEMITSU Honda India Talent Cup NSF250R was a 10 rider grid. While 6 of these millennial riders including Kavin Quintal, Varoon S, Geoffrey Emanuel, Charan T from Chennai; Sarthak Chavan from Pune and Mohsin from Velacchery are riding NSF250R riders for the second year, other 4 riders have been upgraded from CBR150R category. This includes Samuel Martin & AS James from Bangalore, Deepak S from Chennai and Raj Dashwanth for Trichy.

With prior experience of riding the Moto3 machine NSF250R, Kavin Quintal leaped ahead of others clocking the best lap time of 1:50.838. He was followed by Sarthak Chavan and Varoon S, completing the front row for tomorrow’s race.

That’s not all. Battling it out in the IDEMITSU Honda India Talent cup CBR150R category are another 14 novice riders hand-picked from Honda India Talent Hunt across India – be it from the Bokaro Steel City, Belgaum, Patna, Satara, Pune Mumbai, Uttur, Malappuram & Chennai.

Today’s qualifying saw 17-years-old Prakash Kamat from Bokaro finishing the race at first spot and the first timers Vivek Gaurav of Bihar and Satara’s Ikshan Shanbhag qualifying for the next two spots in that order in CBR150R class. While Vivek Kapadia and Shyam Sundar will start from last spot due to today’s crash.