The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team has concluded the Dutch World Supersport round at Assen with a spirited performance by Kaito Toba in the weekend’s second and final 18-lap race. From twenty-ninth on the grid, the Japanese rider managed the race perfectly, pitting early to change to rain tyres and battling at the front of the field for almost the entire race before crossing the line seventh, which became sixth after another rider was later disqualified.

Earlier in the day, the riders had a final opportunity to prepare during a brief warm-up session, though conditions were again cold and wet, just as they have been throughout the weekend.

Race 2 got going at 3.15pm. Conditions were dry until just a couple of minutes before the start, which meant that most of the field had mounted slick tyres, but then rain came on heavily just as the riders headed out for the warm-up lap. The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda duo made an understandably cautious start from row ten. The rain quickly intensified, with a first group of riders, Toba included, electing to come straight in and switch over to rain tyres on lap one. Pawi and the rest of the field followed suit on lap two. Once everyone returned to the grid and the positions stabilised, Kaito found himself leading the race, having made the right decision to pit immediately, unlike many of his rivals.

The Japanese rider continued to put in a very impressive performance, particularly through the first half of the race, keeping pace and even battling with championship leader Huertas and oscillating between third and fifth position. With six laps to go, and on a track that was drying rapidly, Toba worked hard to maintain his focus and consolidate all his hard work with a strong result. Losing just two positions in the final phase, Kaito crossed the line an impressive seventh. He was later promoted to sixth, after another rider was disqualified, which meant he scored ten very valuable championship points.

Having made up several positions in the tyre switch, Khairul was lying twenty-second through the early stages. The Malaysian made up two places during the first phase of the race but has trouble getting into a rhythm, concluding race 2 in twenty-first position, which became twentieth following the disqualification of another rider.

In the championship standings, Toba positions eighteenth with ten points, Pawi thirty-first with one point. The Supersport World Championship will now take a break before returning at the Misano World Circuit, the stage for round four, over the weekend of 14-16 June.

Kaito Toba P6

“The weather was once again unpredictable today. We were about to start the race and it suddenly began to rain. On my first lap I got back to the pits and the guys did an amazing job fitting the rain tyres. Once I got back on track, I gave it my all. It was tough to stay with the Ducatis, but I did manage to lead the race at one point. When the track started drying out, the rain tyres were wearing out extremely fast and I ended up in seventh position, or sixth in fact! I’d like to thank Honda and the whole team for their hard work this weekend. We’ll do our best to continue in this direction.”

Khairul Idham Pawi P20

“Another crazy race today. We lost time at the start of the race while still on slicks, and with hindsight we could have scored a better result if we’d pitted sooner. We completed the race anyway and have gained more valuable experience that we carry forward as we continue working to try and improve in the next races.”

Full Results * Courtesy of DWO

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