Honda Team Asia's Somkiat hailed as national hero

Honda Team Asia's Somkiat hailed as national hero

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (fourth left) receives souvenirs from Moto2 rider Somkiat Chantra, fourth right, at his office on Wednesday.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn (fourth left) receives souvenirs from Moto2 rider Somkiat Chantra, fourth right, at his office on Wednesday.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Wednesday hailed Moto2 rider Somkiat Chantra as a "national hero."

The minister made the remark during a meeting with the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia racer, who is the first Thai to have won a race in the motorcycle world championships.

Somkiat, 23, returned from France on Tuesday after finishing third at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on Sunday.

It was his third podium finish this season after his win in Indonesia and runner-up finish in Argentina.

"You are our hero," Phiphat said. "The government will support all Thai athletes."

Somkiat said he would do his best in the remaining races of the season.

"I am very proud to be a representative of Thailand and enhance the country's reputation in a world-class competition," he said.

"I'd like to thank AP Honda and Thai fans who give me support."

The next race is the Italian Grand Prix on May 29.

Somkiat made history with his success at the Indonesian Grand Prix in March, becoming the first Thai rider to win any class of grand prix racing.

He then came in second at the Argentina Grand Prix for his second consecutive podium finish.

Somkiat currently sits seventh in the world championship standings.

The Chon Buri native has said he aims to get at least two more victories this season particularly in the home race at Buri Ram in October.

Somkiat also said he would like to move up to the elite MotoGP class.



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