Rookie Veijer scores with P13, Sasaki crashes while leading the race
The Grand Prix of the Americas ended in high drama for one LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider. Ayumu Sasaki led for almost the entire race but crashed in the final sprint and, unlike fellow rookie Collin Veijer in P13, went away empty-handed in terms of championship points.
The Moto3 field started the 14-lap race at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday morning in slightly different conditions at the gates of the Texan metropolis of Austin.
But the cooler temperatures and increasing wind did not seem to affect Ayumu Sasaki in particular, as the Japanese rider got off to a good start from his second place on the grid and already took the lead towards the end of the first lap. The 22-year-old Japanese dominated the race, putting in countless leading kilometres until he was attacked for the first time by Jaume Masia four laps from the end. From then on, a battle unfolded, which Sasaki could finally decide in his favour. But then came the drama: three laps before the end of the race while leading the race, Sasaki crashed out with a highsider, losing everything for which he had fought so hard for in the previous eleven laps.
In the midfield, young Dutchman Collin Veijer was fighting for his next World Championship points on the last groove. After starting the race from 21st place, the Moto3 rookie made up numerous positions within a few laps and found himself fighting for 13th place in the final kilometres. The 18-year-old had to hold his own against well-known names like Kaito Toba and Ricardo Rossi. In the end, Veijer managed to collect three points with a thirteenth-place finish and is now ranked 19th in the world championship standings.
After two overseas GPs, the journey now takes the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team back to European soil, where the Gran Premio de España will be held in Jerez de la Frontera from 28th to 30th of April 2023, offering Ayumu Sasaki a fourth chance to underpin his undeniable competitiveness with a well-deserved top result.
1. Ivan ORTOLÁ/ SPA/ KTM
2. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – (+0.457)
3. Xavier ARTIGAS/ SPA/ CFMOTO – (+0.558)
13. Collin VEIJER / NED / Husqvarna – (+15.967)
DNF Ayumu SASAKI / JPN / Husqvarna
Moto3 Championship Standings
1. Daniel HOLGADO / SPA / KTM / 49
2. Diogo MOREIRA / BRA / KTM / 49
3. Xavier ARTIGAS/ SPA/ CFMOTO/ 32
16. Ayumu SASAKI / JPN / Husqvarna / 10
19. Collin VEIJER / NED / Husqvarna / 7