Equalling his career best race result of sixth for the second weekend in succession Okubo was competitive with the leading riders for most of the 17-laps, especially in the tighter sections. He dropped back slowly as the race wore on to end up only 4.599 seconds from the winning rider.
After being unlucky to suffer a time penalty in the opening race in Australia recently, Lucas had to start the Buriram race from the very back of the grid. His rear tyre was found to be fractionally under the minimum permissible pressure and he was made to give up his third row starting spot.
The 2017 champion’s pace as he made up 12 positions in one lap, and then tried to get back into contention with the leaders was such that could have achieved a stronger finishing position. He got up to eighth on lap six, and remained there until the flag, taking eight valuable championship points for his efforts.
After the second race of the 12-round championship Hikari is an impressive fifth overall, with 20 points. Lucas is currently ninth with 12 points.
The next round of the championship takes place at the Spanish venue of Motorland Aragon, with raceday on Sunday the seventh of April.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I rode in third position for the first time in the early laps with some very strong top riders. It was very difficult to stay in that group and I had to drop behind as the race went on. A sixth position I am not happy with because my target was the top three, but the time gap was just 4.5 seconds from the winner. In the last race I was 17 seconds behind. I finished sixth there too. That is a big improvement. I need more good training and better thinking but I feel I am at a different level from the last two years. I hope I can push hard in the next European rounds.”
Lucas Mahias stated: “The bike was not so bad today but it was the rules that held us back after my tyre pressure was measured to be too low. I started at the back of the grid and I finished eighth. So it was impossible to finish in the front group today. I made up a lot of places, pushing for three or four laps but the group in font was two or three seconds ahead and it was finished for me.”
Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) finished 14th and scored two points today, while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) was 16th and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 18th. Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was put of contention after another rider crashed into him in the very first turn, causing Ayrton to crash.