Alongside several other Asian talents, Galang Hendra was called up by Yamaha Motor Europe to Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Academy in 2016. His performance at the Motor Ranch earned him a wildcard entry for the 2017 Supersport 300 World Championship at Portimão, which he described as “a dream” despite having to unfortunately retire from the race.
“Upon arriving at the World Supersport 300 race in Portugal it was like a dream that I was even there. The jump from 250cc to 300cc wasn’t too difficult to get used to, the difference is mainly in the regulations. In Asia, you can change a number of things, the camshaft, swingarm; it’s basically a semi-tuned-up series. In Supersport though it’s basically a stock bike, so I needed time to learn this and from FP1, FP2 and even the race I was still making big steps forward with the style and bike set-up. Unfortunately, in Portimão I had a technical issue but was allowed a second chance at Jerez.”
In that Jerez race, while Yamaha riders Marc Garcia and Alfonso Coppola battled for the title, Galang Hendra made an instant impact. On just his second Supersport 300 World Championship start, he became Indonesia’s first race-winner at a world championship level.
“For my second wildcard entry in Jerez, I was quite confident because I had just won the AP250 class of the Asia Road Racing Championship at Madras in India,” Galang Hendra continued. “So, I just tried to do my best and my target was just to try and get a point, finish in the top 15, but I could also see I had the opportunity to fight with the top group. I attacked every lap, every corner, and kept my focus to take the win on the run to the finish line.”
After that performance, Galang Hendra had his sights set on the 2018 Supersport 300 World Championship title, but the technical regulations meant that the Indonesian was unable to consistently challenge for wins.
The lead Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge rider did, however, take a stunning victory in Brno after a dominant weekend. “To win in Czech Republic the following year was obviously an amazing feeling as well,” Galang Hendra said. “From the beginning of the year we weren’t sure about the potential, my goal was to be world champion but certainly in the early races we struggled to challenge the others. In Brno though, I was able to make a big gap to second place and win quite comfortably. I’m not sure exactly why we were able to maximise everything in Brno, the track is wide, and you can keep the rpm high, which is where the Yamaha worked best. So maybe this was why.”