Ayumu Sasaki achieves best result to date with fifth place in Argentina

2019-03-31 15:47
This Sunday was a day to remember for Ayumu Sasaki, who crossed the line fifth at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit for his best result to date in the Moto3 World Championship. PETRONAS Sprinta Racing teammate John McPhee, who had once again been the fastest rider in the warm up and went on to lead the race, crashed with 10 laps to go, remounting to 21st place.

Starting from ninth, Sasaki made a great start that allowed him to form part of the front group. Throughout the 21-lap race, the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider was in the fight for the podium, which lasted right up to the last lap. The Japanese talent eventually crossed the line fifth, just half a second behind the race winner.

McPhee, who took off from 11th, kept up the same strong pace that he had shown all weekend, and was up at the front within the opening laps. He would briefly lead the race, but would drop back into the pack and with 10 laps remaining, crashed on the penultimate corner. The Scotsman remounted his bike to take 21st at the chequered flag.

Ayumu Sasaki leaves Argentina 10th in the overall standings, with a total of 11 points, whilst John McPhee remains on 3 points, in 20th. With 14 points, PETRONAS Sprinta Racing are 10th in the team ranking. The next round of the Moto3 World Championship season is the GP of the Americas, which will be held on April 12-14th.

Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
"Ayumu Sasaki achieved his best result in a race, so we are very happy. What I am particularly pleased with is his evolution throughout the weekend. We started with a bad feeling on Friday, but step-by-step we have been improving and in the race he was up there, which is very good. He had an impressive race, because the action was close and aggressive from the first lap onwards. Obviously, when you are so high up the order, you always want to finish on the podium, but these races are very difficult to predict and he did his best.

John McPhee was fast all weekend and had a good pace. He was a little far back on the grid, but he got to the front and managed to lead the race. He dropped back a bit and that ended up with him crashing. It's a shame because he could have taken a good result here, but we'll have to wait for the next race."

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#71 Ayumu Sasaki
"The weekend had been hard. On the first day I struggled a lot, especially because this circuit is not one of my favourites. We had to adapt the bike and change many aspects of the setup, something that meant we found it difficult to be up at the front. Both my crew chief and the entire team worked very well, never giving up and supporting me a lot. At this circuit you have to ride very smoothly, which is not my style, so we have had to improve in that aspect. After the warm up we made some changes that allowed us to start the race with much more confidence. In the race I focused on staying inside the Top 5 for as long as possible, because if you don't do that, you can get left behind in races which run in groups. I'm very happy to have been fighting at the front and I enjoyed the battle. On the last lap I made a small mistake that took me away from the podium, but overall the result is very positive. Now we are going to Texas, to a circuit that is better suited to my riding and where we hope to place on the podium."


#17 John McPhee
"Honestly, I felt good until the moment I crashed. I got into the lead and I tried to push the pace in order to establish a gap, but I didn't manage to do it and I dropped back into the group. I was trying to find my way to the front of the race again, when another rider touched me; he must have damaged the back of my bike. I didn't notice the problem until the next corner, when I couldn't use my rear brake. It's a shame, but these things happen in racing. I'm hoping that, as this weekend we have found a great pace, we can carry it over to the next race in Austin."

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RESULTS
1. JAUME MASIA / KTM
38:54.562

2. DARRYN BINDER / KTM
+0.108

3. TONY ARBOLINO / Honda
+0.295

4. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda
+0.386

5. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing
+0.519

21. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing
+26.464
FULL CLASSIFICATION
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
1. KAITO TOBA / Honda
31

2. LORENZO DALLA PORTA / Honda
29

3. JAUME MASIA / KTM
25

4. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda
21

5. DARRYN BINDER / KTM
20

10. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing
11

20. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing

Source: SIC Racing Team

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