Moto3™ action at the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia served as the perfect appetizer to Sunday’s billing at the Sepang International Circuit and Dutch Rookie Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) stole the headlines with a hard-fought debut victory. . Veijer took the lead after battling teammate Ayumu Sasaki and title rival Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) as the gap between the top two in the title race narrowed to 13 points with two races to go. which remains.
Masia started from pole position but a furious rush at Turn 1 saw the Championship leader drop to P2 as Veijer came into turn 1. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) looked lively as did Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sasaki will put themselves into contention.
Masia followed by a lap but made his move on Veijer as Sasaki and Öncü charged. Sasaki carved his way through the pack like a knife through butter and led the way from Masia to announce his presence and start the battle.
The pair continued to trade paint as the laps wore on and a freight train of riders lined up behind the leading duo.
A crash for David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team) saw Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) also crash while two title contenders fell, with Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia), Riccardo Rossi (Sic58 Squadra Corse) and Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) was also caught in the incident. This left a six-bike battle for the win as Sasaki, Masia, Veijer, Öncü, Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team), and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) all duked it out for the Malaysian Grand Prix which glory.
Everything at the front heated up to a boiling point ahead on the penultimate lap. The group was reduced to just three after a final corner collision between Ajo teammates Öncü and Rueda saw two riders fall, with Bertelle also caught in the incident – which dropped the Italian to P9.
This left Masia, Sasaki, and Veijer to scrap it out for the win with two laps remaining. Veijer took the lead at the start of the final lap as he held off the attacks of his teammate Sasaki, with the Dutch rider taking the lead in the final sector. After a strong defensive performance from the rookie, he held off Sasaki and Masia – who gave everything they had into the final corner – for a famous first lightweight class victory.
Six and a half seconds out of the fight for victory was Ivan Ortola who beat David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing), and Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP) for 4th place. Joel Kelso (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP) was the last rider in the battle as the Aussie took 8th.
More than three seconds behind was Italian Filippo Farioli (Red Bull KTM Tech3) who finished 9th. Rookie lost to Ryusei Yamanaka (GASGAS Aspar Team) and Matteo Bertelle who finished 10th and 11th.
After hitting the deck with his teammate Deniz Öncü rejoined the race to finish 12th. The Turk crossed the line half a second off the road from Vicente Perez (BOE Motorsports) taking P13 ahead of the VisionTrack Racing Team duo of Scott Ogden and Joshua Whatley.
The exciting season of the 2023 Moto3™ title battle follows an incredible weekend of racing in Malaysia that perfectly sets the stage for the final two rounds of the season. Back-to-back Grand Prix will decide who will lift the title with the Qatar Airways Grand Prix in Qatar next before the grand finale in Valencia just a week later. With a title on the line, you won’t want to miss any of the action on motogp.com!
|1||Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP)|
|2||Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP)||+0.066|
|3||Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing)||+0.328|
|4||Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team)||+6.830|
|5||David Munoz (BOE Motorsports)||+6.878|
|6||Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Race)||+7.191|
|7||Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP)||+7.354|
|8||Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP)||+7,400|
|9||Filippo Farioli (Red Bull KTM Tech3)||+11.175|
|10||Ryusei Yamanaka (GASGAS Aspar Team)||+11.287|
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