Today was a sad day in Thailand as their first ever GP class rider Ratthapark Wilairot announced his retirement, aged 25.
While anyone who follows MotoGP from the lightweight classes up probably choked on their lunch marveling at the prospect of retiring at their quarter of a century, the Thai Honda Gresini Team were already keeping his seat warm for his replacement Thitipong “Ting Note” Warokorn, a fellow Thai racer who aged 23 will make his debut at Indianapolis later this month after the summer break ( though if he sticks to Wilairot’s timetable he can look forward to maybe making retirement in two seasons time!)
‘Feem’ as Wilairot is known at home enjoyed a seven year career in Moto2 and 250cc racing, with his best result coming in Assen in 2010, where he finished fourth after challenging race winner Andrea Iannone for the lead. He will, according to the Bangkok Post become the coach for his replacement Warokorn.
Warokorn had been racing in the Asian Road Racing Cahmpionship this season and won the 2010 Thailand Super Bike 1000cc SB1 Class title, with the AP Honda president suggesting “He could become the pride of Thailand.”
This news came hot on the heels earlier in the week of British rookie Kyle Smith’s departure from the championship.
Riding alongside Toni Elias at Blusens Avintia, the 21 year old found himself high and dry after his main sponsor Wild Wolf pulled out of all rider sponsorship, with immediate effect.
Smith posted the following statement on his personal website :
Blusens/Avintia would like to carry on with Kyle but are now short of finances, as far as I know Toni Elias will continue.”
Smith was yet to score any points for the team in a season where former Moto2 champion Elias has amassed just 19 points for the Blusens Outfit.
He has previously competed in the Spanish 125GP Championship, the Spanish Stock Extreme series where he finished runner-up in 2012 and the Spanish Kawasaki Ninja Cup, where he was champion in 2009.