Triumphant final victory crowns Sasaki as championship runner-up in #ValenciaGP, Veijer 4th
Sometimes fate writes strange but wonderful stories. In his last ever Moto3 race, Ayumu Sasaki wins his first and last race of the season a week after losing the world title – a liberating blow for the Japanese rider, who crowns his successful season with the runner-up world title. The 23-year-old made a fantastic start from second on the grid, took the holeshot, but then had to let his team-mate pass him. With numerous fastest race laps, Sasaki reeled off his laps with precision and took advantage of the moment to take the lead just a few kilometres before the end. Neither David Alonso nor Ivan Ortolá found a way past Sasaki and so he took a highly emotional victory that filled the entire team with pride.
Eleven podium finishes, including three third places, seven second places, and a magnificent final victory to round off his Moto3 career, make Ayumu Sasaki a more than deserving runner-up champion, just six points behind world champion Jaume Masia, before his path takes him to Moto2, for which the entire LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team wishes him all the best.
The second-best rookie of the year, Collin Veijer, put in the most leading kilometres on this gloriously sunny race day in Valencia. From lap 1 to lap 17, the fast Dutchman set a strong pace and made the most of his pole position. This was all the more remarkable after Veijer crashed on the sighting lap, which caused his crew another stir shortly before the start of the race, as the handlebars were clearly bent. A small mistake four laps before the end of the race dropped the 18-year-old back to fourth place, from which he was unable to escape despite several attempts to attack. A further 13 championship points took his points tally to 149, which ultimately secured him seventh place in the championship – a performance that far exceeded all expectations. The youngster finished on the podium twice this season and even celebrated his maiden victory in Moto3 in Malaysia. Collin Veijer’s story continues, as he will keep fighting for further career highlights with the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP team in 2024.
By winning the Team World Championship title, the LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP Team closes the Moto3 season on a well-deserved high with pride and gratitude. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and partners for their support this season. However, true to the motto “After the season is before the season”, there is little time to take a breather after the FIM awards on Sunday evening because the Moto3 squad around Collin Veijer and newcomer Tatsuki Suzuki are already awaiting the Pirelli tyre test in Valencia on Monday, which will give a first exciting foretaste of the 2024 season.
Ayumu Sasaki – P1
Moto3 World Championship 2023 – P2 – 268 Points
It’s a huge relief to stand on the top step of the podium today because it’s been a great season, but at the same also a tough one. In the end, this victory feels so good because the team and I deserved it and we fought for the championship right to the end. In the end, we won the runner-up title. Nevertheless, the season was incredible because I learned so much this year. And not just in 2023, the last two years were very instructive because the team taught me so many things that I will never forget. Winning the last race is a nice finish and a great way to celebrate the end of our journey together. I can’t thank LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP enough for everything they have done for me. Last but not least, congratulations everyone, because we are team world champions!
Collin Veijer – P4 (+0.266)
Moto3 World Championship 2023 – P7 – 149 Points
I’m happy with P4, considering how difficult it was for me to achieve this result. We went out on the sighting lap, and I tried to push a bit, just to get a feeling. But then I highsided quite heavily in turn two and I had a lot of pain in my back. But the race went quite well, even though the handlebars were completely bent after the crash. But I always tried to make the best of it, and I did everything I could not to come home with a too bad result. To be honest, it would have been a bit of a shame after such a great weekend. Surprisingly, I was able to stay at the front for most of the distance, and, above all, I set a very fast pace. Apparently, I got on well with the bent handlebars. Overall, we can be satisfied with this race. We also finished the championship in P7, and if someone had said that at the beginning of the season, I would have said “maybe”. But we’ve made a lot of progress over the course of the season, and we can be very happy with that. So, I think, it’s time to say: let’s see what we can achieve next year. But I’m very confident going into 2024. The whole team has done a great job every time, which is underlined by winning the team’s classification. Ayumu and I scored a lot of points, and we can be very proud of that. Congratulations to everyone at LIQUI MOLY Husqvarna Intact GP!