Öncü claims best result to date – Sasaki scores points in Misano
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü displayed an impressive performance in today’s Gran Premio dell’Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini. Starting from 12th on the grid, the Moto3 rookie was fighting hard to keep up with the top, lost the contact a bit around half way through the race, but was recovering from 15th with each lap. In a clever way, he made up position by position to finally see the flag in a strong seventh place.
In the meantime, Ayumu Sasaki, who came from even further down the grid, lost one place in the opening lap, but made up for it quickly to battle inside the top 15 throughout all the 23 laps of the eighth round of the 2020 Moto3 World Championship season. The Japanese youngster eventually crossed the finish line in a decent P14, which earns him two more points to his championship account.
“Actually, this weekend was one of the hardest. When we started, I already had two crashes, so it didn’t get off well. In the second Free Practice I was just lost. Yesterday, we regained the feeling in FP3, but it was not enough to be in Q2. So, I had to go through Q1, where I was fastest. At the start of the race, I was ninth, but I was not ready to push on the first laps, so I was back in 19th position. But then I woke up and started to push more or less every lap, was passing one rider by another. In the end, I finished P7 and I’m very happy about this result, because this is my career best so far in the Moto3 World Championship. I’m happy for my rhythm and my fast laps. Next weekend we will be in Barcelona, so I will try to improve again.”
“Today has been a tough race, especially from halfway point on. I started quite good, was following the front group, but then we lost a bit of contact to them. At the same time, I started to struggle to shift down. I don’t know what the issue was, as my clutch felt quite hard and it wasn’t easy. When you can’t shift down like normal, you start to struggle, because the engine brake is working differently. In the last six, seven laps, I couldn’t do anything, but at least I could finish the race inside the points. I’m disappointed, because in the beginning of the race, the bike was working very well. In terms of setting, we improved from Warm Up and found a good way. So, the end was just not, what we were hoping for, but after two DNFs we could finish the race with two points, which is a positive point. We need to move on to the race next week and try to be better in Barcelona.”