Sasaki takes P4 in crazy Barcelona finish
Moto3 lived up to its reputation in the eleventh race of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya. The hair-raising finish saw LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider Ayumu Sasaki initially in fifth place. A 6-second penalty imposed after the race saw the Japanese rider advancing to fourth. Rookie Collin Veijer had to sit out the Barcelona GP due to a foot injury.
Saturday ended with bad news for the German racing team, as rookie Collin Veijer suffered fissures in three metatarsals in his left foot in his Q2 high side. In Misano next week, the young Dutchman will undergo a medical check-up on Thursday and if he gets the green light, he will try to make up for the missed race.
On race Sunday, all eyes were now on the current World Championship runner-up: Ayumu Sasaki. Starting the 18-lap race from 13th on the grid, the Japanese rider was faced with a Herculean task, as the field of riders was close together and resembled a swarm of piranhas. It took time to find the rhythm and build up the feeling for the Husqvarna machine, but with only five laps to go, the 22-year-old launched his attack, having previously hovered around tenth place. Countless overtaking maneuvers followed, with Sasaki persistently trying to counterattack while pushing further ahead. Especially the last sector of the last lap was a real challenge. Wheel to wheel, five abreast...a constellation that was David Muñoz's undoing. His crash, caused by a collision with Deniz Öncü, ensured that Ayumu Sasaki crossed the line in fifth place, just 0.289s behind the lead. The six-second penalty imposed on the Turkish rider Öncü soon after the race meant that the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider was able to finish fourth and score 13 valuable world championship points.
With high hopes, the team now travels to Italy, where the San Marino Grand Prix in just one week's time, from the 8th - 10th of September, will be another milestone in the battle for the Moto3 world championship, in which Ayumu Sasaki in particular has a say, as Sasaki is only 13 points behind the current world championship leader Daniel Holgado.
The whole team wishes their protégé Collin Veijer a speedy recovery and return.
1. David ALONSO/ SPA/ GASGAS
2. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – (+0.076)
3. José Antonio RUEDA/ SPA/ KTM – (+0.234)
4. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – (+0.289)
1. Daniel HOLGADO/ SPA - 161
2. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP – 148 (-13)
3. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ – 129 (-32)
15. Collin VEIJER/ NED – 47 (-114)
1. RED BULL KTM AJO – 209
2. LIQUI MOLY HUSQVARNA INTACT GP – 195
3. ANGELUSS MTA TEAM – 191