Sasaki reduces championship gap with 2nd in #AustralianGP thriller, strong 4th for Veijer
Heavy rain and thick spray made the Moto3 race at Phillip Island an extraordinary challenge. Already in the morning warm-up, it had rained at just 12°C.
Ayumu Sasaki was nevertheless hopeful of taking a start-finish victory from pole position at this 16th Grand Prix of the year, but unfortunately, this mission failed a few corners before the end of the race when Deniz Öncü relegated him to second place. Before that, however, the Japanese made a good start and took the holeshot in the first corner. And while numerous competitors crashed, Sasaki fought his way back into the lead after having to relinquish it to Adrian Fernandez until lap 18.
The near triumph was within Ayumu Sasaki’s grasp, as was the World Championship lead, but at the end of the day, the most important thing was to stay seated and finish as many positions ahead of Jaume Masia as possible. Sasaki eventually crossed the line in second place, 0.407s behind race winner Deniz Öncü. With only four championship points difference, the 23-year-old now travels to Thailand for the last stop of this triple-header, where he will continue to fight for the championship lead with even more bite.
A big “chapeau” also goes to Collin Veijer. The Dutchman managed the treacherous conditions on the 4.45 km Australian track like a pro.
After a successful start, the rookie immediately moved up two positions to the front. In fourth place, he chased down the leading group, in which he was involved for long stretches of the race. However, in the course of the 21-lap race, it became clear that the 18-year-old was not quite able to keep up with the leading pace, which is why he finished his race solidly in fourth place and was able to enjoy another 13 points.
Next stop: Thailand. From 27th to 29th of October, the successful duo of the German Moto3 racing team will have their next chance to fight for victories, podium places, and even the World Championship lead.
Ayumu Sasaki – P2 (+0.407)
I’m happy with second place because it was a difficult race with rain and wind. Sometimes both were stronger and sometimes less strong. So, it was difficult to manage the situation, but we were able to handle it well every time. In the last five laps, it changed constantly, which is why I lost a bit of concentration. Nevertheless, I tried to stay focused and not make any mistakes in the last laps. On the last lap, Deniz passed me and again we didn’t manage to win a race, which is a bit of a shame. But I think we’ve done a great job in terms of the championship. And that’s the goal, and that’s what we need to focus on. We’ll try again in a week.
Collin Veijer – P4 (+23.062)
I felt okay in the warm-up this morning, even though I didn’t push that hard. It was just a matter of getting a feel for the conditions and seeing what the track is like and also the wind. P17 meant nothing in the end, so it wasn’t too bad to start race day in completely different conditions. But then on the grid, it was very cold, I was already freezing. That worried me a bit, although I was able to warm up a bit at the start and felt good in the first laps. As the race progressed, we had a big gap to the riders, which I think grew to up to 24 seconds. But in the last five laps it was freezing cold out there. I couldn’t move my fingers and toes; I was just shaking on the bike. So, I didn’t do anything other than bring P4 home safely and score good points again. We also made a big step again considering where we were in Argentina and where we are now in the rain, which is much better now. We can be very satisfied with this weekend.