Somkiat Chantra, the first Thai rider to win a race in the world championships for motorcycles, has been hailed by the government as a “national hero.”
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn made the remark during a Tuesday (17 May) meeting with the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia driver following his third-place finish at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans on Sunday (15 May).
It was Somkiat’s third podium finish of the season, following victories in Indonesia and Argentina.
With his victory at the Indonesian Grand Prix in March, the Thai rider made history by becoming the first Thai rider to win in any class of Grand Prix racing. Then, he placed second at the Grand Prix of Argentina for his second consecutive podium finish.
The next race is the Italian Grand Prix on May 29.
The Chonburi native, who is ranked seventh in the world championship standings, has stated that he hopes to earn at least two more victories this season, especially in the home race at Buri Ram in October.
Somkiat also announced his intention to possibly compete in the MotoGP elite class in the near future. (NNT)