Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announces the holding of the "The 9th YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE" over the two days of December 7 to 8 at a specially prepared course at the SM City Sta. Rosa shopping mall (Overall length: approx. 926 m; Santa Rosa, Laguna Province, The Philippines). Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. (YMPH) will host this first ever holding of the event in the Philippines. Launched in 2003, the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE is a one-make* championship race competed by riders who have been chosen through qualifying races held in their respective countries.
This time, 43 riders from the five participating countries of the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand that have been chosen through national qualifiers, and two riders from Japan as special entries will be competing. The race machines will be the T135 (Philippine market name: SNIPER MX) for the MT (manual transmission) Class and the ASEAN region's popular AL125 scooter (Philippine market name: MIO 125 MX) for the new AT (automatic transmission) Class.
Scenes from the 8th YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE (held in Malaysia)
There is a growing interest for motorcycle sports in the ASEAN region, a main market for Yamaha Motor's arterial motorcycle business. In recent years, a growing number of young people have demonstrated a desire for a more active lifestyle. In response to these trends, the Yamaha Motor group is involved in a variety of activities that strengthen its sporty and stylish brand image while promoting the development of motorcycle sports and contributing to youth development in the ASEAN region. The YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE is one of such activities.
With the popularity of racing rising in recent years in the Philippines, YMPH will host the country's first ever holding of the event in its rotation among the participating nations.
*A one-make race is a type of motorsport in which all the competitors use the same make and model.
This time, the championship will be competed in two classes, the MT Class and this year's new AT Class, with each class competed in a two-heat race format and the final places being decided on the basis of total championship points for the two heats (2nd heat results used in case of a tie). To ensure fairness, the races are competed using machines that have been set up to the same specifications and conditions, and the machines to be used by each team are chosen by lottery. Also, a minimum weight limit is in place to curb the trend toward an increasing number of younger, smaller framed competitors.
Awards of trophies and prize money are presented to the top five finishers in each of the two classes (MT and AT) and another trophy is given to the country whose riders score the highest total number of points.
Reflecting the rising popularity of AT models in the ASEAN markets, a new AT Class has been added to this year's competition. Due to their convenience, comfort and fashionable designs, AT models are increasingly popular, especially among young people and women. As a result, AT models account for a steadily growing percentage of the overall motorcycle demand across the ASEAN region. The new AT Class has been added to the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE in order to demonstrate the outstanding performance and reliability of Yamaha AT models while also creating an opportunity to make motorcycle racing more familiar and easier to associate with for a larger base of customers.
Championship point allotment
(Philippine market model:
T135 (MT Class machine)
The race machine for the MT Class is the T135 premium sports moped. Released in the autumn of 2005, this model was developed under the concept of "a fusion of high performance and fashion" represented by the keyword "Performal" (a combination of performance and formal). As Yamaha's flagship moped model, it boasts exclusive Yamaha technologies in its liquid-cooled 4-stroke 135cc engine with a DiASil cylinder and lightweight forged aluminum piston.
The current model was updated with a new 5-speed transmission to bring out the full potential of the engine's broad power band, disc brakes for the front and rear (keeping the front disc brake of the existing model) and other new features. These improvements along with fresh and more innovative styling throughout the machine took its sporty performance to a new level and won it strong popularity as the moped market leader.
Since 2006, the companies of the Yamaha Motor group have been aggressively organizing local 135cc class races in each country based on the firm belief that giving young riders an opportunity to use the T135's sporty performance in actual racing will provide experiences that will boost their riding skills. The T135 was then chosen as one of the race machines for the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE from its 4th running in 2006.
(Philippine market model: MIO 125 MX)
AL125 (AT Class machine)
For this year's new AT Class, the race machine is the AL125 sporty premium commuter model.
Like the T135, the AL125 features exclusive Yamaha technologies in its liquid-cooled 4-stroke 125cc high compression ratio engine with CVT and a DiASil cylinder, lightweight forged aluminum piston and more. As a lightweight, compact, easy-to-ride automatic transmission model with ease of leg reach to the ground, this model is popular among young people and a broad demographic of users thanks to benefits such as its ease of use, good storage capacity, economy and environmentally friendly performance, sharp, sporty styling and the light, lively and agile feeling of its ride.
From 2011, new efforts were focused on organizing a new class of local races using the AL125 that would be easier for riders without previous race experience to enter. These efforts have helped in building the racer population and attracting more spectators, as well as make racing more familiar and easier to associate with for more people.
On race day, both models used for competition in the two classes will sport the official Yamaha racing color, blue, and the Yamaha "Speed Block" graphics as the basic design. To this will be added the national flag and team colors of each country on the vehicle's cowling.
Thai rider Decha Kraisat won the ST600 Class title in the 2012 All Japan Road Race Championship
Since the 1980s, Yamaha Motor group has undertaken a variety of activities aimed at the popularization of motorsport in the ASEAN region. These include active promotion of programs aimed at building the race population and raising the level of competition, such as support for national championship competitions and Yamaha Cup races in each country, organizing "Yamaha Riding Academy" programs aimed at improving rider skills as well as training riding instructors.
Continued promotion of these activities has led to a rapid rise in the number of competitive riders in each country and stimulated them to strive to new heights. This includes an increasing number of riders who are striving to compete in the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE by qualifying in national championships, while some also set their sights on the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, the World Supersport Championship and the pinnacle of world championship motorcycle road racing - MotoGP.
In fact, the champion of the ST600 Class of the 2012 All Japan Road Race Championship is Thai rider Decha Kraisat, who started out in the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE and won its Expert Class title in the 3rd running in 2005. Other ASEAN region riders who started international competition in the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE have gone on to greater heights, including wild card entry in the Moto2 World Road Race Championship.
As younger and younger riders participate, the number of people coming to the circuit as families is also increasing, which in turn means that more people are involved in motorcycle events as a whole in each of the participating countries.
The host country this time, the Philippines, has been competing in the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE since 2004. In order to share the experience of riders who have competed in the YAMAHA ASEAN CUP and help nurture a new generation of Philippine riders, a "Yamaha GP" one-make race series was launched here in 2010. The results were quickly evident when a Philippine rider mounted the podium for the first time with a 3rd place finish in the Novice Class of the 8th YAMAHA ASEAN CUP RACE in 2010. Through bringing up new riders, these race activities introduce the wonderful experiences of accomplishment earned by taking on challenges. At the same time, they have also provided a platform for promoting racing in a safer environment and conditions, through practices such as lending proper safety equipment and improving and maintaining the race course facilities. These efforts serve to help promote the spread of motorsports, promote the sporty image of "Yamaha - the motorcycle racing brand" and differentiate Yamaha from other makers in the sales arena as well.
Kenichi Kuroyama (Team Kuroyama Racing Yamaha)
Fumitaka Nozaki (YSP Keiyou Racing)
A trial riding demonstration will be offered to spread the enjoyment of motorcycle competition as a spectator sport and the appeal that lies in handling and controlling a motorcycle.
Trial competition is a form of cross-country motorsport especially popular in Europe that involves clearing natural or artificially constructed obstacle course "sections" without letting the feet touch the ground or running off the course, in a test of precise machine handling skills rather than speed.
Showing off their high-level skills this time are Kenichi Kuroyama (Team Kuroyama Racing Yamaha) and Fumitaka Nozaki (YSP Keiyou Racing).
After returning to Japan from international competition, Kuroyama has been competing as a Yamaha rider in trial competitions since 2006. He was undefeated in every event this season and was crowned the 2012 All Japan Trial Champion. In the process, he broke the Motorcycle Federation of Japan (MFJ) records he held for unified competition, taking his 11th championship and reigns as Japan's top trial rider.
In 2002, Nozaki first began full trial competition at the world championship level at the age of 19, becoming Japan's first junior world champion (for ages 20 and under). He returned to Japan in 2006, securing impressive results and taking a top spot in the ranking. He took three consecutive one-two podium finishes with Kuroyama this season, narrowly missing the runner-up spot in the championship by just two points.