Sasaki's heroic title fight in Qatar remains unrewarded
Ayumu Sasaki fought like a lion to the bitter end at the Qatar Grand Prix on the Losail International Circuit to bring the Moto3 class title decision to Valencia, but in the end, it was not enough. With a heavy heart, the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider lost the coveted trophy to Jaume Masia after 16 merciless laps. Team-mate Collin Veijer finished the penultimate race of the season winning six points in tenth place.
These are scenes that are as heartbreaking as they are devastating, and yet Ayumu Sasaki's performance deserves the utmost respect.
Everyone in the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team tried to prevent the world championship from being decided at the Qatar Grand Prix. First and foremost, of course, Sasaki himself, who rode the race of his life in Losail. Over 16 laps, the Japanese rider fought with everything at his disposal. As the leader at times and despite the 23-year-old having to fend off three block passes from Masia and his team-mate Adrian Fernandez, he even fought his way back from the depths of the top 10 towards the end of the race. Sasaki gave it his all, even setting the fastest race lap once again, but time ran out for him to make up enough places to prevent a title decider in Doha.
An almost highsider a few corners before the end sealed his fate. History was irreversibly written. His sixth position was not enough to prevent Jaume Masia, who ultimately won the race, from being crowned the 2023 Moto3 World Champion.
Ayumu Sasaki has already achieved great things this Moto3 season and still has the chance to become the runner-up. In Valencia, he will try to put this bitter disappointment behind him and keep his head held high to clinch the vice title and the team world championship for the German racing team.
Collin Veijer, the winner from Malaysia, tried everything in his power to give his team-mate the support and help he desperately needed, but there was no mercy in the 19-strong leading group. The 18-year-old rookie already lost a few positions at the start, but quickly fought his way up to the top four, but was ultimately unable to keep up with the pace. Even though Veijer can be happy about another six championship points and seventh place in the championship, he feels for his team-mate who was finally beaten in the title fight.
The entire LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team is proud of Ayumu Sasaki and, despite the overwhelming disappointment, is looking forward to the grand finale in Valencia from the 24th - 26th of November, where there will still be plenty to win and celebrate.
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA
2. David ALONSO/ SPA/ GASGAS – (+0.068)
3. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – (+0.163)
6. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – (+1.566)
10. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – (+2.019)
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ – 271
2. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP – 243 (-28)
3. David Alonso/ SPA - 225 (-46)
7. Collin VEIJER/ NED – 136 (-135)
1. LIQUI MOLY HUSQVARNA INTACT GP – 379
2. LEOPARD RACING – 344 (- 35)
3. RED BULL KTM AJO – 323 (- 56)