Husqvarna Motorcycles was able to obtain their first trophy of the season at Termas de Rio Hondo thanks to Ayumu Sasaki’s 3rd position.
MotoGP flew from one side of the world to the other with the Grand Prix of Indonesia followed by a boisterous return to Argentine soil and for the re-opening of the quick and varied Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Round three of the 2022 world championship brought a cooler climate compared to the previous outing in Lombok but was equally challenging. Delays with freight caused the Grand Prix schedule to be delayed and condensed from three days to two. All three classes had to practice and qualify with a busy Saturday timetable.
In the heat of the Moto3 sessions, the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team were trying to refine the set-up of the fast FR 250 GP for Ayumu Sasaki. The Japanese had showed excellent speed in a difficult climate in Indonesia but demonstrated enough speed to be in contention for trophies and was again searching for the same pace and potential in South America. The team were counting on the Japanese once more with John McPhee still not fit enough to compete after fracturing two vertebrae in a training accident prior to the Indonesian fixture. The Scot is pushing to return to the bike for round four.
Sasaki sped to a time just a tenth of a second from Pole Position on Saturday, his 2nd place was good enough for the front row and the second time in three races he has begun a Grand Prix race from the first line. Moto3 entertained the bumper crowd for 21 laps on Sunday. Sasaki was in the midst of the melee for the podium and had to negotiate a Long Lap penalty for an altercation two weeks ago in Indonesia. The handicap dropped him outside of the top ten and he fought his way back to 4th and then produced a magical overtaking move on the final corner to snatch 3rd. The result gives the team their first silverware of the campaign and Sasaki the third podium appearance of his career.
Sasaki collected 16 points for his efforts and properly launched his season with eighteen race weekends still to come. The next date is the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas in a matter of days.
Ayumu Sasaki: “I’m happy I could finish on the podium. I knew I had the pace even though I had to do a Long Lap penalty. I lost just two seconds and then just focussed. In the last five laps I struggled with grip that cost me in the fight for the win. The first two races have been difficult but we are strong and I’m happy to be back.”
John McPhee: “I worked every day with my physiotherapist with the aim of returning for the Argentine Grand Prix. Unfortunately after a thorough examination, the doctors informed me that the fracture needs more time, before it can be welded. We return to work with the intention of recovering for the grand prix that will take place in Texas the following weekend.
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 3
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 38:51.668, 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) +0.146. 3. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) +0.375, DNS. John McPhee (Husqvarna)
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 58pts, 2. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 54. 3. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 28. 11. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 16, 16. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 11