Sasaki shows hopeful pace in Argentina rain race
Luck was not on the side of LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider Ayumu Sasaki on this Sunday's race at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, after the Japanese rider crashed out in a highsider while fighting in P2. Collin Veijer, on the other hand, managed to defy the treacherous conditions and finish the race in P22.
Even though the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team had not hoped for further rain on this race Sunday, it came as it was supposed to and so the two Moto3 riders from the Memmingen-based racing team were faced with the great challenge of quickly familiarising themselves with the conditions for the 18-lap race in only the warm-up lap.
Starting from pole position, Ayumu Sasaki got off the line well, but went a little wide in the first corner and eventually lined up in third position amidst thick swathes of spray, where he tried to find his rhythm in a nervous pack. A few overtakings and laps later, the young Japanese had to take a penalty for a manoeuvre he had done earlier and dropped one position from P2 to P3. But the 22-year-old Sasaki, still in chase mode, pushed straight back to second and within a few corners had put a safety margin behind him again, increasingly narrowing the gap to the leading compatriot, Tatsuki Suzuki. Then, in lap 11 of 18, the sudden end: in turn 13, Sasaki lost control due to a violent slide and highsider and thus a possible second place on the podium.
Further back in the field, Moto3 rookie Collin Veijer diligently turned one race lap after another and defied the circumstances with bravura. The 18-year-old may not take away World Championship points from this second round of his career as he had hoped, but he did take away a lot of new knowledge, because staying seated in a rainy race like this and finishing the race in P22 was not something that every one of his rivals managed to do, as many crashes in this race show.
After this busy start to the season, it is now time to take a break, celebrate Easter, and prepare for the third round of the season at the prestigious Circuit of the Americas, which will set the stage in Austin, Texas, from 14th to 16th of April.
1. Tatsuki SUZUKI / JPN / Honda
2. Diogo MOREIRA / BRA / KTM – (+4.571)
3. Andrea MIGNO / ITA / KTM – (+4.699)
22. Collin VEIJER / NED / Husqvarna – (+55.636)
NC Ayumu SASAKI / JPN / Husqvarna
1. Daniel HOLGADO / SPA / KTM / 38
2. Diogo MOREIRA / BRA / KTM / 36
3. Tatsuki SUZUKI / JPN / Honda / 327
12. Ayumu SASAKI / JPN / Husqvarna / 10
19. Collin VEIJER / NED / Husqvarna / 4