Sasaki celebrates podium success with 2nd at #FrenchGP, Veijer scores again in 15th
Ayumu Sasaki of the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team had to wait a long time to climb onto a Grand Prix podium again. At Le Mans, the Japanese rider managed a brilliant second place, while his rookie colleague Collin Veijer scored another World Championship point in his still-young Grand Prix career with P15.
The scenes in the parc fermé showed an overjoyed Ayumu Sasaki after the Japanese rider, who had started the fifth race of the season from pole position, held on to second place almost constantly. By the end of the 20-lap race, the 22-year-old was literally glued to the rear wheel of long-term leader Daniel Holgado, but his own risk control made Sasaki hesitate for a final attack, eventually crossing the finish line safely in second place with a 0.150s gap. Sasaki is one of the absolute top favourites this season and now sits in 6th place in the World Championship with 43 points, despite having failed to score in two of his five races. With the newfound confidence in himself and his Husqvarna, he is now ready to fight for wins and the title again.
One who also regularly exceeds the expectations of the German Moto3 team is youngster Collin Veijer. The Dutch rider, who is only 18 years old, has so far contested his first World Championship season with flying colours, scoring an incredible four points in five races. His 15th place in Le Mans is all the more impressive because the weekend was rather mixed for the former Red Bull Rookies Cup rider and less than 24 hours ago Veijer painfully crashed out in Q1 with a high-side. However, this also proves his bite and that if he can get further up the grid in qualifying, he is a sure-fire points contender.
Next stop: Gran Premio d’Italia from the 09th – 11th of June 2023 at the stunning Tuscan circuit of Mugello, where the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP duo will be aiming to take another step forward.
Ayumu Sasaki – P2 (+0.150)
It was a good race but Holgado had a pretty strong pace and maybe, in the beginning, mine was a little bit better but he clearly wanted to lead the race so I stayed behind in second to study him and check how many people are on our group. I am happy to have taken second place, especially without having had to risk too much. Masia overtook me with about five laps to go and Holgado started to push a little more so I fought my way back into second place. I was comfortable and in the last lap, I knew I could try to attack, I was right behind Holdgao but since the beginning of the season was not easy and we weren’t where we want to be, I couldn’t risk it all too much this time. Of course, we need to try and win races but today wasn’t the day. I am happy with the second position, with how the bike worked, our speed, and pace. I’m glad to not have made any mistakes which gives me confidence for the next races. At the beginning of the season, I risked it all for the win and lost podiums instead so this time I wanted to approach things with a bit more common sense and I think it’s the way to work back to the wins.
Collin Veijer – P15 (+16.969)
I am quite happy now with the one point, especially after this tricky weekend with the crash and all. Already in P2, we missed some important time and on Saturday we were facing rain and a wet track as well as a violent crash, which wasn’t helpful either, so overall, I am satisfied with the final outcome of this weekend. But, of course, we want more. This time, after the highside, I took it easy in the first few laps of the race and tried to figure myself out, especially in that precise corner but I found my rhythm and confidence and managed to secure one point, which is good.