Sasaki ends heated #SpanishGP podium battle in 4th, Veijer 23rd after crash
The Jerez Grand Prix lived up to its reputation as the Moto3 race was action-packed right up to the last corner, not least thanks to LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider Ayumu Sasaki’s catch-up. Team mate Collin Veijer showed a strong race but crashed and ended up in P23.
On a cooler morning, compared to the hot last few days, the two LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Moto3 riders set out to fulfil their mission to collect as many world championship points as possible.
For Ayumu Sasaki, the start and the early stages were rather mixed, but when the Japanese rider finally found his rhythm, he started his chase from 12th position and closed a gap of over two seconds, putting him in the podium fight in fourth place with four laps to go. A few heated manoeuvres later, the 22-year-old crossed the finish line 0.422s behind Ivan Ortolá, David Alonso, and Jaume Masia. Thanks to his 13 points, Sasaki climbs to 9th place in the World Championship.
Starting the race from 16th on the grid, the young Dutchman, Collin Veijer, lost a few positions but fought his way up to 15th through his perseverance and was again on course for points when he crashed at turn six on lap 13 of 19. The rookie rejoined the race and eventually finished in 23rd position. Although the disappointment about the lost points may be great at first, the 18-year-old Veijer impressively showed what a snappy racer he is.
Before the traditional Le Mans Circuit hosts the fifth Grand Prix weekend from the 12th – 14th of May in a fortnight’s time, there will be tests at the Andalusian circuit following the Jerez Grand Prix on Tuesday, where Collin Veijer and Ayumu Sasaki want to pave the way to further successes with their crews.
Ayumu Sasaki – P4 (+0.422)
It was a difficult race in the beginning as we had a small issue with the bike which is why I lost a few positions. I was scared to crash, so I took it easy but halfway through, I felt a lot better. So when I started to push a bit and made my way back to the front. We had a two-second gap to the front group and I didn’t know whether I could catch them or not but I had a great pace so I made it. That was great and I worked hard to reach the leading group. The podium was possible so I am a little bit disappointed but after two DNFs I was constantly thinking about avoiding a crash. I was considering how much risk I could take in every corner for 19 laps, so it was a difficult race but we managed well. I think it was a good weekend in terms of speed and finishing P4 was important, so hopefully from here, we can build up some speed in the championship.
Collin Veijer – P23 (+35.488)
The start was quite good but in turn two, some riders passed me again. Either way, I really didn’t feel too bad at all. During the race, I felt a lot of sliding in the rear. I went sideways into every corner which made it difficult to control the front. Finally, in turn 6, I crashed. Overall I am happy with the last lap but obviously not happy about the result. I just hope to make it better in the next race. But before, I hope to find something in the test next week that helps me gain some more confidence, especially in the front.