Round seven of 2023 MotoGP™ captivated a capacity crowd in Germany as Husqvarna Motorcycles takes more Moto3™ honours around the Sachsenring.
MotoGP drifted north from the speed, sun and spectacle of Mugello to the history, technicality and intensity of the Sachsenring for round seven of twenty. For the Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP team their home Grand Prix in Germany meant a transition from heavy demands of top speed in Italy to the endless curl of the short 13-corner, 3.6km layout close to Chemnitz.
Sachsenring is an outlier circuit on the world championship calendar; for the length, the incessant left-hand turns and the high quantity of race laps. The site is also dripping in legend, having welcomed Grand Prix along the nearby public roads back in the 1950s and ‘60s and then reverting to the current course at the end of the millennium. Since 1998 it has been the traditional pull for German MotoGP fans and the characteristics of the track – scheduled between the flow of Mugello and the kinks of the TT Circuit Assen – increases the novelty factor further for 2023.
After back-to-back podium finishes in France and Italy, Ayumu Sasaki not only wanted to excel for his crew at Sachsenring but continue his rise in the Moto3 world championship standings. The Japanese was again fast in practice and qualification and across both wet and dry asphalt as intermittent showers created wildly changeable conditions. On Saturday afternoon Ayumu used his FR 250 GP to ace his fourth Pole Position of the season by more than one second over the next nearest rider and claim the lap record. Teammate Collin Veijer was also in excellent form and showed keen track-craft to take 4th and the first slot of the second row: the best qualification of his young GP career to-date.
Sunday was rain-free and saw the public fill the Sachsenring, more than 96,000 in attendance. Sasaki, who finished just off the podium in the 2022 race, started well for the 23-lap race and grabbed the lead from his teammate by Turn 3. Ayumu fronted the Grand Prix all the way until the final corner when he was passed and beaten to the flag by Deniz Öncü by just 0.095 of a second. After taking the holeshot Veijer was busy in the front-running group until an untimely crash into Turn 12.
Sasaki’s plight and mature comeback from an adverse launch to the 2023 campaign means he is 4th in the championship standings and has a gap of only five points to 2nd place. Husqvarna Motorcycles is 3rd among the Constructors and Husqvarna Intact GP team are currently the 5th best team from 15.
The third consecutive MotoGP fixture ventures to the TT Circuit Assen for the Motul TT Assen next week.
Ayumu Sasaki: “The race was good, I started well and led the whole way. I knew by the middle of the race and when Deniz was catching me that I could push a bit more but I also needed to save the tyre so I stayed calm. He caught up and I didn’t expect him on the last corner and he moved inside. So, 2nd today and definitely disappointing in terms of what we showed in speed but we’re on the podium again. We’ll keep going.”
Collin Veijer: “I was quite late on the brakes and just couldn’t hold it any more. I was too optimistic early on and wanted to stay with the people in front too much. Overall, I think we can take the positives from this weekend. We had some luck with the P4 yesterday but we made some steps and I want to push again next weekend for my home race.”
In Moto2 Darryn Binder had qualified in 19th while Tulovic, operating in front of friends and family and on home turf for the second time in his career, was 21st fastest. The class raced around the Sachsenring for 25-laps and Binder was again desperately unlucky for the second Grand Prix in a row to be punted out of the action on the first turn. Darryn was hit to the ground and lucky to escape injury but it meant his Sunday lasted only a few seconds. Tulovic persevered and but then also fell out of the race three laps later.
MotoGP marches into the Netherlands for round eight, where the TT Circuit Assen will drape the curtain across the series for a five-week summer break.
Darryn Binder: “Unfortunately 2-for-2 now. I didn’t make the first corner again. I’m really disappointed and really needed the race laps. In Assen next week I need to get my head down right from FP1 and get through to Q2 for a good grid position, so I won’t be in this trouble. Sorry to the team; it’s their home race and I really wanted to get a good result but it was out of our hands. I’m happy I’m OK, so we’ll just forget about it and move forward.”
Lukas Tulovic: “I was behind Ai Ogura and really wanted to keep up with him after he even held me up a bit on the first lap. Then he increased his pace and, in the process, I could not quite keep up until I lost the front wheel. The crash is hard to understand because the front suddenly caught again a little. It was at a very fast place. It's a shame, and I'm sorry for the team and all the fans who came to Sachsenring, that this stupid crash happened at our home race of all things. Next week in Assen we have to do better."
Results Moto3 Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland
1. Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM 33.10.531. 2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.095, 3. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM +12.074, DNF. Collin Veijer (NED) Husqvarna
World championship standings Moto3
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 125 points, 2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda, 84, 3. Ivan Ortola, (ESP) KTM, 81. 4. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 79, 17. Collin Veijer (NED) Husqvarna, 18.
Results Moto2 Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) 35:15.315, 2. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +2.730, 3. Jake Dixon (GBR) +2.825, DNF. Lukas Tulovic (GER) Husqvarna, DNF. Darryn Binder (RSA) Husqvarna
World championship standings Moto2
1. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 129 points, 2. Pedro Acosta (ESP), 124, 3. Alonso Lopez (ESP), 82, 19. Darryn Binder (RSA) Husqvarna, 10. 21. Lukas Tulovic (GER) Husqvarna 6