Sasaki takes pole in Australia & Veijer on row 2

Ayumu Sasaki of the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team took the hard-fought pole position in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. Youngster Collin Veijer rounded off the second row of the grid with his sixth place.

The climatic conditions on Melbourne's offshore island make for unpredictable weather changes every year. This year, strong winds are making it difficult to get up and chase fast laps and could reach new heights on race Sunday.

The experienced Ayumu Sasaki got off to a good start in the first practice session on Friday, and after a brilliant third practice session, the Japanese rider finally started the qualifying session as the fastest. The 23-year-old left no stone unturned in the 15-minute session, taking pole position for the 16th Grand Prix of the year by an unchallenged 0.134s margin and hoping for a start-to-finish victory to make up for his 16-point deficit and pointless race from the previous week.

Team rookie Collin Veijer is in no way inferior to his teammate, as the young Dutchman impresses with rapid improvements on his first visit to Phillip Island, taking him from 12th in FP1 to seventh in third practice and therefore straight into Q2. The 18-year-old did well in the windy conditions, seemingly in a position to fight for the front row, but was held up on his fast qualifying laps. Nevertheless, Veijer placed himself brilliantly on the second row of the grid in sixth place, from where he hopes to fight for his first World Championship podium on Sunday.

The Moto3 race will be 21 laps long and will start one hour earlier than scheduled, at 01:00 (CEST), in order to pre-empt the announced thunderstorm in the afternoon. A warm-up on Sunday morning will give the smaller classes another opportunity to prepare for the new conditions. Both riders from the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team are fervently hoping for a smooth run and the chance to fight for podiums with their strong Husqvarnas. 


1.   David MUÑOZ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'37.638
2.   Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'37.903 (+0.265)
3.   Riccardo ROSSI/ ITA/ HONDA – 1'38.034 (+0.396)
12. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'38.684 (+1.046)

1.   David MUÑOZ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'36.791
2.   Stefano NEPA/ ITA/ KTM – 1'36.864 (+0.073)
3.   Diogo MOREIRA/ BRA/ KTM – 1'37.111 (+0.320)
4.   Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'37.115 (+0.324)
11. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'37.765 (+0.974)

1. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'36.403
2. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – 1'36.537 (+0.134)
3. Joel KELSO/ AUS/ CFMOTO – 1'36.56 (+0.163)
7. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'36.977 (+0.574)

1. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'36.539
2. Joel KELSO/ AUS/ CFMOTO – 1'36.675 (+0.136)
3. Stefano NEPA/ ITA/ KTM – 1'36.755 (+0.216)
6. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'37.008 (+0.469)