It was another hot weekend in the 2017 FIM Asia Supermoto Championship, but this didn’t affect Lewis Cornish from claiming his second victory of the series. The UK rider held his nerve in Indonesia to finish first in both Moto 1 and Moto 2 and climb atop the podium to collect his prize.
Even though he demolished the field in Round 1 in Thailand, Cornish’s victory in Round 2 wasn’t a foregone conclusion. After a difficult day’s practice before the races began, Cornish expressed his doubts that he could take home a win in Kota Surakarta.
“We made changes to the rear shock,” said Cornish, “we knocked 10mm of sag off it and then stiffened both the forks and the shock near to maximum. We were just experimenting because I’d never ridden like that before and we needed to see what worked.”
Normally, a rider and his team would make 3 or 4 clicks to the suspension to find the right balance, but by the end of practice Cornish had made closer to 25. This gives you an idea of how foreign the Indonesian track was to the UK rider.
“We eventually settled on a harder setting,” said Cornish. “We dropped the pressure in the tyres by a few psi to about 21 or 22, and after qualifying I felt pretty good about my chances in the race.”
Cornish and his team’s tinkering paid off straight away, as the Supermoto Championship leader led Moto 1 from start to finish, holding off strong Malaysian rider Khairi Zakaria all the way.
Moto 2 was a similar story, although it was 2016 Champion Gabit Saleh who took the lead early on. “Gabit led for about 4 laps,” remembers Cornish, “but during lap 4 he went too hard into a corner and I just out-braked him to sneak past. I managed to keep out of the chaos behind, which Gabit got caught up in. From then on it was a pretty comfortable ride to the finish.”
Cornish held a 7-second lead throughout Moto 2, easing off after the 2-laps to go signal and cruising over the finishing line with Khairi Zakaria coming in behind him yet again.
After not feeling confident going into the race, Cornish pulled it out of the bag for Round 2 and he extends his lead in the overall 2017 Championship. “I love coming to Indonesia,” admits Cornish, “it’s one of my favourite places. The people are so friendly and I look forward to it every time. The next Rounds are going to be hard to top Kota Surakarta but I can’t wait to race again and defend my lead.”
With Gabit Saleh injured during in Motocross tournament, it could be a smooth ride into the finish for Cornish. “It’s sad to hear about Gabit, I hope he gets better soon so we can race against each other again,” said Cornish. “But there are some other big contenders in the Supermoto Championship I need to watch out for – Trakarn Thangthong in particular is on great form – on the day it will be down to whoever handles the track better.”
Watch Lewis Cornish attempt to defend his title against the rest of the field in the 2017 FIM Asia Supermoto Championships live on twenty3.tv.