In his second consecutive year in the Asia Road Racing Championship, Tamada is determined to make a difference in the 2014 season. His last season was broken he crashed and injured himself during qualifying at the Suzuka 8 Hours, and would leave him with a immature season.
Tamada started out smoothly from the pre-season tests, breaking his lap times of last year. He was determined to show himself, the team, and his competition that he is sound and ready for the Championship.
A new regulation was brought into the Championship this year, where the riders would be able to choose from two different compounds for the rear tire. The softer compound did not work well for Tamada during the pre-season tests. He needed to carry on his settings to see if it will work for him during the race week.
Regulation limited the riders to be able to use 6 sets of dry tires during race week. In order to lessen the risk during qualification, Tamada used only 2 sets of new tires in the three practice sessions. Feeling better with the softer compound, Tamada ran 30 laps on it, which is longer than the race distance, and secured crucial data for him and the team.
Tamada started out with the soft tires during qualification and immediately positioned himself in second place. After 5 laps, he changed his tires to the medium compound. The medium compound worked better for Tamada, and lapped a 1’05.385. He secured a front row start in 3rd position.
A 50%-60% chance of rain was forecasted for the afternoon on race day. Race 1 started out in dry condition, but small drops of rain was found in the early stages of the race. Tamada dropped to 6th position at start, but regained position and by the middle of the race, he was right behind the top 3 riders. By the middle of the race, the top 4 riders, with Tamada at the tail of the pack, carried on the race. Tamada chased the top 3, marking the fastest lap of the race. He was unable to pass them, even if he was in their slipstream. Tamada took chances by braking later, but that would only make him overrun. He avoided to crash, but finished fourth.
In Race 2, Tamada from his lesson learned from Race 1, made sure he kept his position at the start. He would later drop to the 4th position. From there on, Race 2 was a rerun of Race 1. Tamada was able to follow the top 3 at ease, but he did not have the extra power to be able to pass them. After Yuki Ito (Yamaha) retired from a machine trouble, Tamada moved up to 3rd position and finished the race with a podium.
“I didn’t expect to the week to be so difficult. I had the perfect setting, and the right tire choice, but I just couldn’t pass the top 3 during the race. I would get behind them on straights, and get into the slipstream, but I did not have the extra push to pass them. The only thing left for me to do was to drastically delay my braking, but that almost made me crash at several occasions. We need to reconsider our strategy for the next race”