The opening Superbike race from the 2023 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship kicked off in stifling heat at Mandalika with Markus Reiterberger momentarily in front, before Zaqhwan Zaidi made a surprise move into the lead.

Zaqhwan maintained this position through lap two, now with Azlan and Kasma in tow. Reiterberger was now running fourth while Haruki managed his pace in fifth.

Reiterberger began making his moves as the race progressed and with seven laps to go, it was all about managing the tyres in the sweltering conditions. As the race passed the halfway mark Reiterberger hit the lead and set about stretching a gap over Zaqhwan.

Meanwhile in sixth, Aussie Lachlan Epis was on the charge and moved past Yuki Ito. Kasma was playing catch up too and tried to close the gap to Haruki.

Azlan was recovering from a slot start to the race and had closed down the riders ahead of him and with two laps to go he squeezed past Epis.

Heading into the final lap Reiterberger had an almost five-second lead. Second place went down to the line between Andi and Zaidi, with Zaidi losing out by less than a tenth of a second.

Markus Reiterberger
“My start was not so good. Anyway, it still arrived at the first position at the first corner. I braked at a latest possible point and suddenly and I saw the red Honda passing by from the inside and realised, oh, it was late and it definitely destroyed my rhythm a little bit. I nearly crashed at turn three but I tried to manage it as much as possible. I felt amazing on the machine and I didn’t push too much. I tried to do a constant smooth flow till the end. The machine was very fast and I thank my team for such an awesome machine. At the moment, it is easy to ride but like I said, the plans can change very quickly. We have to keep an eye open for the race tomorrow.”