*Rajiv Sethu, who qualified for pole position in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc category (June 2)
Coimbatore, June 3: International Rajiv Sethu, marked his debut in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc category by taking the pole position as the Rolon Round of the MRF MMSC Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship commenced at the Kari Motor Speedway, here on Friday.
Having switched camps from Honda to Yamaha, Sethu, representing RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate team, run by veteran multiple National champion Rajini Krishnan, put in a flying lap of one minute12.927 seconds for the pole position. In P2 was Petronas TVS Racing’s KY Ahamed (01:13.049) ahead of his new team-mate Pune teenager Sarthak Chavan (01:13.110), who also has moved from Honda to a new team.
“I had to make a lot of adjustments, moving to a higher category from 165cc Open. It was challenging, but I managed to perform. The competition is very tough and hopefully, I will do well in the races this weekend,” said Sethu who had won the Pro-Stock 165cc Open title in 2016 as a 17-year-old.
Earlier, Vignesh Goud (Race’ists Motorcycle Club), the 20-year-old BBA student from Hyderabad, also took pole position in the Novice (Stock 165cc) category with a flying lap of 01:25.871 with Bengaluru’s Savion Sabu (Axor Sparks Racing) in P2 with 01:26.758) and Tasmai Cariappa (Pacer Yamaha) from Mysuru in P3 (01:27.063).
Also qualifying for pole positions in other categories were: Alwin Sundar (Petronas TVS One-Make Championship, Open category) and Nithila Das from Bengaluru (TVS, Girls).
Meanwhile, defending champion in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open category, Rajini Krishnan announced that he would not be racing in the National Championship this season, but will focus on the Malaysian Superbike Championship. “I find it difficult to switch from the 1000cc bike to much smaller machine. So, I will be sitting out this season’s National championship,” said the Chennai-based veteran.
Petronas TVS Racing enjoyed a 1-2 in the free practice session for Pro-Stock 165cc Open category with KY Ahamed and Jagan Kumar topping the time sheets in that order. Last year’s champion, Mathana Kumar (Pacer Yamaha) was third fastest, ahead of Pune teenager Sarthak Chavan who made his debut in this category in Petronas TVS Racing category.
Puducherry’s Lani Zena Fernandez was the fastest in the Girls (Stock 165cc) category during the practice session, closely followed by two former National champions, Ryhana Bee and Ann Jennifer.