Sasaki heading into the Catalunya GP with plenty of potential, Veijer declared unfit
P13 on the starting grid for Ayumu Sasaki reflects in no way the true potential of the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team ahead of the eleventh Moto3 race of the season, after rookie Veijer, for example, just had time for two laps after an early highsider in Q2 and suffered a bitter setback later in the afternoon.
That Saturday's qualifying session at the Barcelona Grand Prix would be exciting and damn close was foreseeable, but the final scenes of the 15-minute Q2 session, for which both riders qualified directly, were nerve-wracking, especially for the German racing team.
Having emerged from the three practice sessions as the front runner, thanks to his best time of 1'48.003 in P3, the pole position for Collin Veijer was already in the air. But after only a few corners, the young Dutchman high-sided brutally off his Husqvarna in Turn 5. The rookie quickly made his way back to the pits, where his crew worked flat out to get the 18-year-old back on track to at least have one last chance for a good grid position. Despite all efforts, however, Veijer has to retire from the remaining weekend. A further examination at the track's Medical Center revealed a fracture in his left foot, which means that our surprising young Dutch rider is declared unfit for the race on Sunday.
Ayumu Sasaki's qualifying result also falls short of his potential. The Japanese was in third place until a few seconds before the chequered flag, but then his countless rivals made up ground in the final meters of Q2, relegating the 22-year-old to 13th on the grid, from where he will set off on a mission to win on Sunday from 11:00 am (CEST), as he is still yet to score his first Grand Prix triumph of the season.
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'48.300
2. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – 1'48.956 (+0.656)
3. Matteo BERTELLE/ ITA/ HONDA – 1'49.012 (+0.712)
5. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'49.030 (+0.136)
12. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'49.600 (+1.300)
1. Ivan ORTOLÁ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'48.702
2. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'48.916 (+0.214)
3. Tatsuki SUZUKI/ JAP/ HONDA – 1'49.024 (+0.322)
10. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'49.296 (+0.594)
1. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'48.003
2. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'48.301 (+0.298)
3. Stefano NEPA/ ITA/ KTM – 1'48.369 (+0.366)
5. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'48.663 (+0.660)
1. Ivan ORTOLÁ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'48.205
2. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – 1'48.509 (+0.304)
3. Joel KELSO/ AUS/ CF Moto – 1'48.563 (+0.358)
13. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'49.178 (+0.973)
18. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'50.346 (+2.141)