Husqvarna Motorcycles glow with Moto3 podium finish at Mugello

Ayumu Sasaki Husqvarna Motorcycles Moto3 2023 Italy

The annual trip to the heart of Tuscany and the challenge of Mugello meant fifteen curves and one of the fastest and hardest physical tests of the season for Grand Prix teams. The 3.2 mile swirling layout emphasizes top speed, corner pace and keen slipstreaming for traditionally tight and tense race affairs.

The Liqui Moly Intact GP team approached Mugello with renewed energy after a three-week hiatus in the MotoGP calendar. Ayumu Sasaki was looking to reassert his competitiveness in Moto3 – present at virtually every single round of the series so far – and Collin Veijer was eager to continue his Grand Prix education.

Through a warm and sunny agenda on Friday, Sasaki was 2nd quickest and just half a second away from provisional Pole Position. Saturday was more complicated with an unstable climate but Moto3 thankfully escaped the heavy rain showers that hit Mugello later in the afternoon. By that point the rapid Japanese had already re-confirmed 2nd spot on the grid and with an ideal view of an empty track for the race on Sunday. Veijer wasn’t too far away in 16th.
 
The Moto3 race on Sunday consisted of 17 laps and Sasaki was immediately involved in the dice for the lead. The #71 was kept busy with four other riders all hunting his rear wheel but bided his time until the final joust. The drag to the line saw four racers split by two tenths of a second and Sasaki secured 3rd, just 0.056 from the win. The result signifies his second podium of the season and his second in a row.
Veijer rode strongly to initially plant himself on the edge of the top ten and then had to concentrate in a packed second group to eye a grasp of points. The Dutchman then judged the sprint to the flag brilliantly to leap up to 6th and a personal best.
 
Sasaki has now taken 36 points from the last two events and has lifted to 5th spot in the championship standings. Only 9 separate him from the top three with just over a quarter of the calendar now marked in the record books. Husqvarna Motorcycles are 3rd on the Constructors table while the team hold 5th in the Teams’ contest (from 15).
The Sachsenring and the team’s home turf will be Sasaki and Veijer’s next challenge. The Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland takes place next weekend.
 
Ayumu Sasaki: “It was a very difficult race and all about the last five laps. It was hard to know where to be and to make a plan! I could have maybe pushed a bit more on the last lap and for that I’m a bit disappointed with 3rd today but we have two podiums in a row now and the next two races ahead I really like. Hopefully we can win soon!”
 
Collin Veijer: “A good result and I wasn’t expecting it but we improved all weekend; especially thanks to the great support the team gave me all the way through. I’m very happy. I hope we can keep this spirit and approach and take points every weekend. From mid-race until the end I felt quite confident and the lap-times came to me. I could make some good overtaking moves. We made good steps this weekend.”


 
For the first time since the Grand Prix of the Americas in the USA – round three of 2023 – Husqvarna Motorcycles were able to field their original line-up for the Moto2 category as Darryn Binder had recovered from his broken hand and made a very welcome return to the Intact GP team pitbox alongside Lukas Tulovic in Moto2™.
The South African worked on getting up to pace and to progress his learning of the intermediate class in what was just his third full weekend of Moto2 competition. Binder was marginally faster than Tulovic through practice and then through Q1. By the end of a cloudy Saturday Binder had acquired 17th on the grid with his fellow rookie teammate in 26th.
From those positions both riders launched into the 19-lap affair. Binder was desperately unlucky to be taken out of the race on the first corner by a tumbling Fermin Aldeguer. The team’s fortunes did not improve as Tulovic also had to retire.
MotoGP now moves directly to the team’s home Grand Prix in Germany. The compact Sachsenring could not be more of a contrast to the wide expanses of Mugello but the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland is traditionally a busy and atmospheric fixture and will house a sold-out attendance in seven days time.

 
Darryn Binder“Unfortunately it definitely wasn’t the comeback race we were hoping for. I had a good jump off the line and came into the first corner in a decent position but was collected by another rider’s bike. I had nowhere to go and I was very disappointed to end the weekend like this because we’d made good steps forward every session. Luckily we only have to wait a couple of days until Sachsenring and to be able to go again. We’ll keep working.”
Lukas Tulovic“The lack of experience on this track made the start to the weekend difficult and unfortunately, the progress from Friday to Saturday to qualifying did not go as well as we hoped. More could have been possible in the race for sure. I didn’t get away well from the start and was then in 21st place. Unfortunately, I lost the front on the eighth lap, and it’s hard to understand why. I’m trying to put it behind me now and will try to bounce back next week at Sachsenring and also in Assen. These are both tracks I know well. I have to work hard on myself and get faster times but now I’m looking forward to my home GP.”
 
 
Results Moto3 Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley
 
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM 33:27.315, 2. Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM +0.051, 3. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.056, 6. Collin Veijer (NED) Husqvarna +13.321.
 
World championship standings Moto3
 
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 109 points, 2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda, 74, 3. Ivan Ortola, (ESP) KTM, 68. 5. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 59, 17. Collin Veijer (NED) Husqvarna, 18.
 
Results Moto2 Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) 35:38.328, 2. Tony Arbolino (ITA) +6.194, 3. Jake Dixon (GBR) +8.582, DNF. Lukas Tulovic (GER) Husqvarna, DNF. Darryn Binder (RSA) Husqvarna
World championship standings Moto2
1. Tony Arbolino (ITA), 119 points, 2. Pedro Acosta (ESP), 99, 3. Alonso Lopez (ESP), 71, 18. Darryn Binder (RSA) Husqvarna, 10.21. Lukas Tulovic (GER) Husqvarna 6
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