Last August, we announced the search for young riders 14 to 20 years of age, who would participate in the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup. In 2014, the project's debut year, a total of 22 young motorcyclists will compete with each other using Honda NSF250R Moto3 race bikes.
Shell has just concluded the tryouts, and one Filipino teen made the cut. Fourteen-year-old Ralph Kenneth Torres joins seven qualifiers from Japan, six from Malaysia, three each from Indonesia and Thailand, and one each from China and Singapore. The 22 young riders were part of an original field of 108 hopefuls, who underwent tests over two days at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. They rode 125cc Honda Future underbone bikes on the facility's karting circuit.
One girl--Muklada Sarapuech from Thailand--made it to the final group. She is also the oldest in the group at 19.
According to the petroleum company, "the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup will become a feeder series to the world of international motorcycle racing and will help showcase Asian riding talent. The championship is scheduled to consist of six rounds, with the first one taking place at the Qatar round of the 2014 MotoGP season."
"We had riders from many countries and it was great to see," said Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup talent scout Alberto Puig. "They all improved their times heat after heat; it was a good selection process and we are happy. It's never easy to select riders. There's no science for this. It's just your perception of the situation after doing this for many years now. So I based the decisions on my intuition as well as on the lap times. If the lap times are also on the same level as your thoughts, then you have the perfect combination."
"I want to congratulate the 22 riders who will ride with us in 2014," added Shell Lubricants marketing general manager Andrew Hepher. "Throughout the process, they continually demonstrated that they are the most talented riders in the region, and are highly deserving of this chance. I also want to thank all our applicants for their interest in this exciting new competition. It's especially good to see that the boys have some competition from the only girl to make it through to the final 22. I look forward to watching her mixing it at the front with the boys."
Here is the list of the 22 riders who qualified for the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup series next year:
* Yuanhang Chen (17 yrs)
* Wilman Hammar (16 yrs)
* Andi Muhammad Fadly (13 yrs)
* Basyiruddin Samhan Mashuri (15 yrs)
* Tsubasa Yoshida (13 yrs)
* Kaito Sekino (15 yrs)
* Yuta Date (14 yrs)
* Ryo Mizuno (15 yrs)
* Tsurugi Kitami (17 yrs)
* Ayumu Sasaki (13 yrs)
* Kaito Toba (13 yrs)
* Nazirul Izzat Bin Muhammad Bahauddin (13 yrs)
* Muhammad Shafiq Bin Rasol (16 yrs)
* Muhamad Adam Bin Mohd Norrodin (15 yrs)
* Muhammad Helmi Bin Azman (13 yrs)
* Fakhrusy Syakirin Bin Rostam (17 yrs)
* Mohammad Shafiq Ezzariq (13 yrs)
* Ralph Kenneth Torres (14 yrs)
* Azhar Bin Mohd Noor (16 yrs)
* Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (17 yrs)
* Somkiat Chantra (14 yrs)
* Muklada Sarapuech (19 yrs)
* Indonesia: Muhammad Taufiq Hidayat (16 yrs)
* Japan: Shota Nakayama (17 yrs)
* Malaysia: Muhammad Ibrahim Bin Mohd Norrodin (13 yrs)