Sasaki soars to GP points after impressive Moto3™ fightback in Spain

MotoGP bathed in typically hot conditions in southern Spain and as the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto welcomed back a large and excitable crowd for the first time since 2019. The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team watched the progress of their star Moto3 rider Ayumu Sasaki as the Japanese pulled through from the last slot on the grid and a Long Lap penalty at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España to seize 10 points.

The sixth fixture of the season took place directly after last weekend’s journey to Portimao, Portugal and to the 4.4km Jerez layout – that mixes three hard braking turns with several fast, flowing sequences. The Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto is not only a consistent and popular Grand Prix host but also a regular testing venue for teams throughout the three classes. Therefore set-up and knowledge of the course was at a premium and pushed together the lap-times.

Sasaki was quickly up to pace through Free Practice and Qualification but his front row grid position was punished by alleged slow-riding on Saturday and he faced a considerable handicap. Starting from last place and needing to fulfil a Long Lap, the youngster then pushed to the maximum to win positions. He did brilliantly to reach 6th and join the leading group with 8 of the 22 laps to go but then ran out of effective grip with his tyres in the final circulations. Ayumu secured 6th place but was only 0.8 of a second behind the winner after a thrilling conclusion to the GP.

David Salvador was again deputising for the recovering John McPhee. The JuniorGP hopeful was able to continue his adaptation to the Moto3 GP machine and fought for points through the duration of the race until a double Long Lap penalty created a difficult time deficit. The Spaniard past the chequered flag in 19th.

Sasaki is now 6th in the Riders’ standings. Sterilgarda Max Racing Team remain 6th in the Teams contest and Husqvarna Motorcycles is 4th in the Constructors championship.

The SHARK Grand Prix de France represents the seventh stop on the 2022 MotoGP trail and the paddock will gather again in two weeks time within the iconic setting of Le Mans.

Ayumu Sasaki: “I’m satisfied with today’s result. After yesterday’s penalties I was close to giving up but I knew I had good pace, and enough to win but I wasn’t sure if I could catch up. So, I was worried but the team did not give up and I could see and feel that. I went for it and was surprised by my speed. In the first ten laps I was perhaps 3-4 tenths [per lap] faster than what I expected. I felt great with the bike set-up and it was perfect but I used the soft tyres a bit too much early in the race to catch-up…but this was the target. I was struggling on the braking with the tyres in the last laps so I calmed down and knew today wasn’t the day to win. P6 was an amazing recovery so I’m happy and we can focus for the next race to start at the front and go for the victory.”

David Salvador: “A beautiful race today to see all the fans here in Jerez, we made a step in Warm-up that gave me slightly better feeling with the front of the bike. I had a Long Lap penalty and I thought I had more time to do it but that meant I ended up having double! Anyway, like last time, I was able to learn a lot and gather information as well as work on some of my weak points that were allowing other riders to overtake me. Thanks to all of the team for all their work because I feel the improvements every time I am out there. It was a shame about the penalties because we would have taken points today.”


Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 6

1. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 39:19.873, 2. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) +0.061, 3. Jaume Masia (KTM) +0.208, 6. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) +0.847, 19. David Salvador (Husqvarna) +23.338


Moto3 world championship standings

1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 103pts, 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 82. 3. Izan Guevara (KTM) 73. 6. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 55, 20. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 11