MotoGP™ reached the halfway point of the season with a baking German Grand Prix at Sachsenring and Husqvarna Motorcycles counted on Ayumu Sasaki for top five honours.
A positive late fitness test for Ayumu Sasaki meant that the Japanese joined teammate John McPhee in the hot and sunny paddock at Sachsenring for the tenth round of twenty in the 2022 season. Ayumu was able to ride his Husqvarna Motorcycle FR 250 GP after recovering sufficiently from his shoulder injury sustained in practice for the Italian round at Mugello last month.
A capacity crowd in Germany filled the Sachsenring grandstands as the public returned to the compact facility situated close to the city of Chemnitz for the first time since 2019. With only 13 turns and a 3.7km layout, Sachsenring is an endlessly curving, technical trajectory and grouped many riders within the same second in terms of times. This created a condensed and frantic competitive bunch for the Grand Prix race that was spun for 27 laps on Sunday.
Both Sasaki and John McPhee showed their experience and skills from the first circulations of Free Practice as the distinctive white and blue race machinery haunted the top of the time sheets. The duo moved through to Q2 and ended Saturday with Sasaki highest on the grid in 4th and McPhee in 13th.
The gauge reached 33 degrees on Sunday and it was Sasaki who made the better getaway. McPhee was a victim of a falling rider in the first turn and ran off the track and into the gravel. The Scot spent the entire race fighting back from the time deficit to take 19th. Sasaki was an active part of the six-rider chase for the podium. Izan Guevara had escaped and claimed victory but the chase for the other two rostrum spots was furious and decided in the final corners. Sasaki passed the chequered flag in 4th place and less than a second from 3rd.
McPhee remains 19th in the Moto3 championship standings. Sasaki’s return to action landed him 13 points and leaves him 6th in the table.
MotoGP moves immediately northwest this week. The historic, flat and technical kinks of the TT Circuit Assen will be the site of the last Grand Prix outing prior to the 2022 summer break.
Ayumu Sasaki: “I’m happy with the race and how we managed to be P4. Last week I wasn’t expecting to be back here in Germany! The podium was very close, so that was a bit disappointing, but at the same time – today especially – I cannot be too down. The left side of my tyre was completely finished in the last few laps. We are still at the front for the championship. The top three is a bit far but we’re only at the halfway point of the season. A lot can still happen.”
John McPhee: “It was a real shame to be collected by some other riders’ crashes at Turn 1. It meant I was taken into the gravel and was more than twenty seconds from the guys in front once I re-joined. It was a long race but I’m happy because I got stick-in and pushed every single lap to try and remain consistent and fast and to get a better understand of the bike at this track. My rear wheel was slightly buckled from the impact, so it wasn’t easy. We can take the positives: the consistency and the work with the used tyres. We just need to improve in a few small areas and we can reach for the results that we are working towards.”
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 10
1. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 39:14.946, 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) +4.853, 3. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) +4.964, 4. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) +5.941, 19. John McPhee (Husqvarna) +45.223
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 166pts, 2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 159, 3. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 115. 6. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 88, 19. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 24