Thai rider tops combined times on the way to Saturday’s Tissot-Superpole session
Thai wildcard entry Ratthapong Wilairot, whose brother Ratthapark won the WorldSSP race in Buriram last year, improved his lap time in the dying minutes of FP2 to go fastest on Friday with a 1'39.435, ahead of reigning Champion Sofuoglu and MV Agusta’s Jules Cluzel.
Points leader and rookie Randy Krummenacher led the morning times despite having never ridden at Chang International Circuit before and ended the day fifth on the combined timesheets, just over a tenth back on his Puccetti teammate, who was second fastest.
After a quiet start in FP1, defending Champion Sofuoglu took the top spot back in the afternoon for quite some time as he improved to a 1'39.565, before wildcard Wilairot took the fight to the Turkish rider and started putting in fast laps. After making a mistake on a previous lap when in the red and up on Sofuoglu’s time, the Thai rider put in another dazzling lap, keeping his advantage over the line.
MV Agusta's Jules Cluzel improved on a challenging FP1 to go third fastest on Friday, with the Frenchman hoping for a good points haul in Thailand after a difficult race in Australia. He begins the Motul Thai Round in the same position as Sofuoglu, with both rival riders yet to score despite both having shown great pace.
The top ten from Friday’s times go through to the Tissot-Superpole session to fight for the top grid spots on Saturday ahead of the WorldSSP race on Sunday, with lights out for the second race of the year at 14:20 local time (7:20am GMT).