MotoGP™ flies around the Red Bull Ring for the thirteenth round of twenty in 2022 and Husqvarna Motorcycles capture a second Moto3™ win of the season
23 intense and hard-fought laps in Austria marked another gripping episode of the 2022 Moto3 Grand Prix term and both the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team and Husqvarna Motorcycles were once more key protagonists in what has been a satisfying and competitive campaign so far for the partnership.
The Red Bull Ring provided a swift but demanding layout of 11 corners at almost 4.5km in length but the new chicane – marked Turns 2a and 2b – was a fresh challenge for the eighth Grand Prix to run at the site since its remodelling and reopening. The section was installed to slow the speed through the long uphill section before the distinctive Turn 3 but became a prime overtaking zone and a tactical spot for the typically large Moto3 pack dispute.
2022 Grand Prix winner Ayumu Sasaki had taken his FR 250 GP motorcycle to 2nd place on the grid after a dry qualification session on Saturday but the Japanese’s crash and contact with another rider from the British round two weeks previously meant he had to serve a double Long Lap penalty during the race. Sasaki initially led but then lost ground for both sanctions and had to battle back into contention from a low as 24th. Ayumu posted repeated fastest laps to cut though the field. He reached the front again and then his last circulation was quicker than his qualification effort to ensure a second triumph and fifth podium of the year as well as his eighth top six classification.
Meanwhile teammate John McPhee started the Grand Prix from the sixth row and managed his pace, tyres and slot. He was on the tip of the second group as Moto3 dispersed in the final stages and took 9th.
In the Moto3 world championship standings, Sasaki’s 25 points from Austria helped him regain 4th place in the table; 6 points from further promotion and 55 from the leader. McPhee, who is still trying to surge up the list after missing Grands Prix due to a training injury earlier in the year, is 17th.
The Sterilgarda Max Racing Team will be eying their chances of closing on the top three of the Teams’ contest when MotoGP next reforms for the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in Italy in two weeks when the Misano World Circuit – Marco Simoncelli entertains the fourteenth stop of the current calendar.
Ayumu Sasaki: “I never gave up! In Silverstone I made a mistake, it was my fault and it meant another hard moment of a tough season with the penalty but I’m overcoming the obstacles. I came here knowing I had the penalty and I had to be better than anyone else. I had a good attitude to the job all weekend and had incredible pace. The race was dry fortunately and I didn’t do any mistakes. My last lap was amazing. Thanks to everyone. I hope we can catch the front guys in the championship in the coming GPs.”
John McPhee: “My pace was decent. I had good rhythm as soon as I could break the group but I struggled to overtake and was pretty vulnerable going into the corners. I had to line-up the exits. I finally got my head down but missed a few more laps to make the front group. I dug-deep today and pushed 100% but missed a bit. We have work to do but I’m sure the results will come.”
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 13
1. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 39:03.516, 2. Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) +0.064, 3. David Muñoz (KTM) +0.292, 9. John McPhee (Husqvarna) +7.474
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 193pts, 2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 188, 3. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 144. 4. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 138, 17. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 40