Moto3™ podium contention for Sasaki ends on the last lap in Indonesia

An exciting second Grand Prix of the 2022 MotoGP™ schedule saw Husqvarna Motorcycles push for a trophy at the Mandalika circuit’s inauguration.

MotoGP headed to the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit on the island of Lombok for round two of 21 in the 2022 series. While the MotoGP class had discovered the curves and demands of Mandalika in a three-day test the previous month, the Moto3 class were learning the trajectory for the first time. The facility had only recently been completed and the track asphalt had largely been re-laid after the initial MotoGP visit.

The first Grand Prix in Indonesia since 1997 was a challenge due to the unseen course but also the climate. The team and riders had to deal with high temperatures and showery conditions that created mixed grip and traction issues throughout practice and qualification.

The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team were down to one-rider representation in Lombok as John McPhee sustained a back injury in a training accident the previous week and could not participate at Mandalika. This left Ayumu Sasaki as the main hope on the Husqvarna Motorcycles FR 250 GP. The Japanese quickly adapted to the circuit and headed the time sheets after Friday. His effort in Q2 qualification meant he lined-up 10th on the grid and heading the fourth row.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and hot. Sasaki pushed his way into the running for the podium as eventual winner Dennis Foggia broke free. A hectic battle for the 2nd and 3rd rostrum places occurred for most of the 23 laps and Sasaki was in the thick of the action until the final lap when a small misjudgement caused him to lose control and have contact with Andrea Migno. The incident took both riders down and out of the race.

Round three of 2022 MotoGP means a long trip west rather than east. The series will move to the flat and twisty Termas de Rio Hondo circuit for the Gran Premio Michelin de la Republic Argentina on the first Sunday of April.

Ayumu Sasaki: “We struggled a bit in the group and I wasn’t that strong on hard braking, so it was very difficult for me to overtake which was a shame because I had good pace. On the last three laps I tried to gain positions but made a mistake. I feel very disappointed and I’m sorry for the other rider. I just wanted to try for the best. Unfortunately we didn’t get any point again. We know we have good pace and we are strong so we will try to reset and restart in Argentina.”

Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 2

1. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 38:51.668, 2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) +2.612. 3. Carlos Tatay (CFMOTO) +0.573. DNF. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna), DNS. John McPhee (Husqvarna)

Moto3 world championship standings

1. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 34pts, 2. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 33. 3. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 16. 10. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 11, 24. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 0