Chennai, Sep 30 (IANS): Local ace Prabhu Arunagiri (Pacer Yamaha) and Hubballi's Sarvesh Balappa (Axor Sparks Racing) clinched pole positions in their respective categories to set the tone for the fifth and final round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2022 which began at the Madras International Circuit, here on Friday.
Arunagiri, lying third on the leaderboard in the Pro-Stock 165cc Open category, clocked a best lap of one minute, 55.045 secs while completing the front row was the Petronas TVS Racing pair of K.Y Ahamed (01:55.556) and defending champion Jagan Kumar (01:55.757).
Championship leader Mathana Kumar (Pacer Yamaha), who leads the field by 17 points, qualified seventh for Saturday's Race-1. Stressed out after his bike's battery burst due to overheating about 20 minutes before the qualifying session, Mathana played it safe and clocked a best lap of 01:56.423 to slot himself into the seventh position on the grid.
Balappa, who has virtually clinched the championship in the Novice (Stock 165cc) category with five wins from eight starts for an unassailable 58-point lead, kept his cool during the qualifying session when he got stuck in traffic to clock a best lap of two minutes, 06.072secs to spearhead a front-row sweep for Axor Sparks Racing. Mysuru's Varun Nanjundegowda (02:06.188) and Rohan Ramesh from Coimbatore (02:07.219) were placed second and third, respectively.
Earlier, veteran Rajini Krishnan (RACR Castrol Power1), who is chasing his 11th National career title, warmed for this weekend's double-header in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open category with a flying lap of 01:51.639 ahead of Petronas TVS Racing pair of Deepak Ravikumar (01:52.159) and Jagan Kumar (01:52.494).
Qualifying (best lap, top 3):
National Championship - Pro-Stock 165cc Open: 1. Prabhu Arunagiri (Chennai, Pacer Yamaha) (01min, 55.045secs); 2. KY Ahamed (Chennai, Petronas TVS Racing) (01:55.556); 3. Jagan Kumar (Chennai, Petronas TVS Racing) (01:55.757).
Novice (Stock 165cc): 1. Sarvesh Balappa (Hubballi, Axor Sparks Racing) (02:06.072); 2. Varun Nanjundegowda (Mysuru, Axor Sparks Racing) (02:06.188); 3. Rohan Ramesh (Coimbatore, Axor Sparks Racing) (02:07.219).
Support race - Stock 301-400cc (Novice): 1. Ashwin R (Race Abilities) (02:03.979); 2. Naresh Shobha Kaname (Pvt) (02:04.052); 3. Mohammed Junaid Akhtar (Race Abilities) (02:04.945).
Petronas TVS One-Make Championship: Open (RR 310): 1. Manoj Yesudiyan (Chennai) (01:54.318); 2. Jagadeesh N (Bengaluru) (01:56.185); 3. Alwin Sundar A (Chennai) (01:56.207).
Girls (Apache RTR 200): 1. Aditi Krishnan (Bengaluru) (02:10.282); 2. Nithila Das (Bengaluru) (02:10.435); 3. Ananya Awasthi (Chennai) (02:11.759).
Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup: Novice (CBR 150): 1. Raheesh Mudassar Khatri (Mumbai) (02:07.651); 2. Siddesh Sawant (Kolhapur) (02:08.757); 3. Shyam Babu (Chennai) (02:09.414).