17th in Valencia proves a downbeat end to the season for Ayumu
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3 duo Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee had a disappointing end to their 2019 Moto3 World Championship campaign at today’s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Sasaki coming home 19th after a sighting lap crash and McPhee unable to finish the shortened 15-lap race after being involved in a multi-rider collision at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Ayumu went into the race nursing injuries sustained at the Malaysian Grand Prix last time out – but even more bad luck struck him when another rider spilt oil on the sighting lap, causing him to crash and forcing a delay to the start of the race. Eventually starting from pit lane, a red flag saw the race stopped and shortened from 23 laps to 15. Struggling with pain in his broken right hand under braking in a restarted race, he was forced to settle for 19th place in his final outing for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing after three years with the team.
“This was the hardest weekend of my racing career, and one of the hardest times of my life. I didn’t expect so much pain when I started to ride on Friday, and even though it improved as the weekend progressed it was still almost impossible to race. I wanted to finish with the team and didn’t want to give up though. I didn’t expect to crash on the out lap, but I touched oil from another rider and highsided. I wasn’t prepared for the crash and I landed hard on my hand. The guys did an incredible job to fix my bike, and despite the pain I was in I knew I couldn’t give up when I saw that they didn’t give up on me. Among the many things the team have taught me in three years, one of the most important is to never quit. It wasn’t a good race but the most important thing today was to finish. I’m leaving for another team, but I’ll never forget PETRONAS Sprinta Racing – and I’d love to return to them in Moto2 or in MotoGP some day!”