Sasaki impresses with 2nd in #JapaneseGP, Veijer 11th
For the team’s Japanese star Ayumu Sasaki, it was one of the most important races of the year. The 22-year-old celebrated his seventh podium of the season in India last Sunday and came to his home race just one point behind the world championship leader. Motegi was also a special event for Collin Veijer, as it was his first time riding on this challenging track, which is characterised by its transitions and tunnels.
After a sunny weekend at Motegi, the Moto3 race action also got underway on a cloudy Sunday in dry conditions. Ayumu Sasaki was part of a four-rider group battling for the win. The local hero showed his will to win with a brand new lap record in the opening stages, beating a nine-year-old time. The quartet swapped positions continuously while Collin Veijer being part of the chasing group fighting for the remaining places in the top ten. Eventually, the young Dutchman was able to take home eleventh place from Japan.
Jaume Masia seized the chance to take the lead and open up a gap of more than a second as Ayumu Sasaki became embroiled in battles with the KTM duo around him. With identical speed to the leading Spaniard, Ayumu Sasaki was unable to close the gap but won a duel with Daniel Holgado to secure second place by a tenth of a second. In front of his home fans, the Japanese rider was thus able to celebrate his fifth second place of the season and his eighth podium in 2023, as well as his second consecutive trophy at Motegi.
With 193 points, Ayumu Sasaki is second in the championship standings. The gap to Jaume Masia is just 6 points, while Collin Veijer is 13th. The LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team takes the lead in the team standings for the first time this season.
After a week’s break, the MotoGP circus then moves on across the Pacific to Lombok in Indonesia for the 15th race of the year from 13 to 15 October.
Ayumu Sasaki – P2 (+1.546)
In one way I am disappointed because I believe I had the same pace as [Jaume] Masia and I really wanted the win! The team did a great job to make the bike even better to ride and race today. I did my best and the support from the Japanese fans was insane. It gave me so much energy. I wish I had three or four more races like this on the calendar! We will keep fighting for the championship.
Collin Veijer – P11 (+9.804)
I didn’t feel too good from the start, the grip wasn’t as good today as it has been all weekend. There was a lot of attacking going on and it was impossible to make a smooth rhythm. Not a great race and I’m not that happy but I’ll try everything to be better in Indonesia.