Sasaki & Veijer head into Japan battle on a united mission
The Japanese Grand Prix could turn out to be a promising race for the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team, as both local hero Ayumu Sasaki and rookie teammate Collin Veijer gradually improved their lap times and will approach the 14th race of the season from positions seven on row 3 and ten on row 4, working together on their mission to take the world championship lead.
The home Grand Prix is something very special for every rider. This was also the case for Ayumu Sasaki, who was able to convince with good performances on the 4.8 km long Twin Ring Motegi since the first practice on Friday. The Japanese rider improved his time from a 1'57.735 from P1 to a 1'56.804 in the fiercely contested Q2, which he easily entered as the sixth fastest rider of the practice sessions. In tow of his teammate, the 22-year-old took eighth place on the grid on row three, from where he will resume his World Championship battle in his usual biting style. Sasaki is currently just one point behind the world championship lead, so every championship point is of utmost importance.
Young Dutchman Collin Veijer hailed a penalty for letting go of his left hand grip while riding the 762m straight in Saturday morning's third practice session. The penalty imposed moves him from what should have been seventh on the grid in row three to tenth on row four. The 18-year-old accepts the penalty and does not see a good race result in jeopardy. The rookie's pace is strong, which team-mate Ayumu Sasaki also took advantage of in Q2 in the meantime. Veijer's 1'56.797 is just 0.466s behind pole man Jaume Masia, who dominated throughout the weekend and who will be the man to beat in Sunday's 17-lap race.
Can the Japanese rider from the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 team leave his home Grand Prix as the new world championship leader in front of thousands and thousands of fans? The answer will be revealed when the starting lights go out at 05:00 on Sunday morning (CEST).
1. Diogo MOREIRA/ BRA/ KTM – 1'57.260
2. David MUÑOZ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'57.466 (+0.206)
3. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'57.495 (+0.235)
4. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'57.735 (+0.475)
22. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'59.074 (+1.814)
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'57.068
2. Ivan ORTOLÁ/ SPA/ KTM – 1'57.176 (+0.108)
3. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'57.176 (+0.123)
14. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'57.747 (+0.679)
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'56.148
2. Daniel HOLGADO/ SPA/ KTM – 1'56.632 (+0.484)
3. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – 1'56.660 (+0.512)
6. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'56.900 (+0.752)
14. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'57.250 (+1.102)
1. Jaume MASIA/ SPA/ HONDA – 1'56.331
2. Deniz ÖNCÜ/ TUR/ KTM – 1'56.53 (+0.208)
3. Matteo BERTELLE/ ITA/ HONDA – 1'56.651 (+0.320)
7. Collin VEIJER/ NED/ HUSQVARNA – 1'56.797 (+0.466)
8. Ayumu SASAKI/ JAP/ HUSQVARNA – 1'56.804 (+0.473)