Sasaki takes 3rd in #IndianGP spectacle, Veijer loses podium in penultimate corner
It was hair-raising scenes on the last of 16 laps at the Indian track that hosted the first-ever Motorcycle World Championship races this weekend.
Ayumu Sasaki, who had been steadily improving over all three days, got right into the action from his third place on the grid by chasing down Jaume Masia in second position. For a long time, it seemed as if the Japanese was faster and as if he was studying the Spaniard, but after almost eleven laps, the 22-year-old could no longer keep up with the leading pace, while the next danger was approaching from behind. None other than team mate Collin Veijer and compatriot Kaito Toba were stalking the runner-up with big steps. The final three laps turned into a thriller, the end of which remained open until the finish line. Hardly anything fitted between the trio in the fight for the remaining two podium places, but two corners before the end there was contact between the team mates in the heated duel, which unfortunately brought Veijer to the ground.
It was a bitter end for the young Dutchman, who put in an absolutely fantastic performance over these 16 sweaty laps. In the battle for his first-ever Grand Prix podium, the Moto3 rookie, just 18, fought tenaciously with everything in his power. Getting away well from the start, Collin Veijer quickly stalked his way to third place, from where he took up the chase of his team mate Sasaki. The beneficiary of his strong solo pace was Kaito Toba, who then launched a final attack and made life difficult for the riders of the German racing team. It could have been the first podium for Collin Veijer, but in just a week’s time, he will start the race in Japan stronger from the first Indian Grand Prix, where he will try to pick up where he left off so impressively at the Buddh International Circuit. Fortunately, Veijer was unhurt.
In the world championship standings, meanwhile, a head-to-head fight is developing between Daniel Holgado, Jaume Masia, and LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP rider Ayumu Sasaki, who is just one point behind the duo, who are tied on points, before the Japanese Grand Prix on home soil from 29.09. – 01.10.2023 will once again be about victory number one this season and the world championship lead.
Ayumu Sasaki – P3 (+5.784)
Today I didn’t expect the front tyre to drop so rapidly but it did and I had to push the front way too much. It was a shame because at the beginning I was so confident sitting behind Masia. On a hot weekend like this, we still have some work to do but we know we made progress this weekend. We can take those learnings to Indonesia and Thailand. In the penultimate corner, it was a shame that I touched my teammate as he was riding amazingly. I didn’t mean to touch him but when I went on my brakes, I passed him and I think he released the break a little bit too early. We were all at the maximum but we are teammates helping each other and I hope we can continue our good relationship as this was by no means intentional. I want to apologize and I believe he will soon achieve his first podium. My pace in the race was good but it’s easy to make mistakes in the front so I stayed behind Masia. I know that I’m fighting for the championship so every point matters. I didn’t want to over-push. Now we’re off to Motegi, my home track and hopefully, we will come back stronger.
Collin Veijer – DNF
Today was once again a good day and the conditions were a bit like in the FP3 yesterday so I was well prepared for the race. Finally, I felt super good in the race, although I struggled on the straight where everyone was overtaking me. We found the pace after a few laps and I was quite alone at one point so I tried to close the gap to the riders in front of me. It wasn’t easy to close up to Ayumu but we managed to do this. Overall, it was a good race even though it was really unfortunate that I got taken out but generally, we can be super happy with the performance this weekend. I am happy to move on to Japan now and let’s see how it will end there but I will for sure try my best again.