Starting the Grand Prix of Doha from P17 on the grid, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Ayumu Sasaki never lost sight of the top throughout the 18 laps competition. The Japanese worked his way forward with each lap and was even fighting for the lead with eighth laps to go. Following some tricky final laps, he eventually managed to cross the line in a decent seventh position.

Meanwhile, Deniz Öncü had to start the second race of the 2021 Moto3 World Championship at the Losail International Circuit from pit lane. Although the group from pit lane was more than 10 seconds off the field, the Turkish youngster stayed calm and finally saw the chequered flag in P18.

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Ayumu Sasaki

Position: 7th

Championship: 14th

Points: 9


“It has been a very difficult weekend. Last week, I was there, but then I crashed out, so Friday and Saturday haven’t been easy. Today I was in the front group, but I had in mind, that I can’t allow myself to go down again, so I was a little bit less aggressive than one week ago.”

“With five laps to go, one rider crashed in front of me, so I lost the contact to the front. With the missing slipstream, it wasn’t easy to keep the position on the final laps. But finally, we finished seventh and got some points. I wanted more, because we had two strong races here. But at least, I finished the race. Now, I need to improve for Portimao and we will do our best there to fight in the front again. We showed it here, so now we just need to improve Friday and Saturday.”

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Deniz Öncü

Position: 18th

Championship: 22nd

Points: -


“I got this penalty, which meant I had to start the second race of the season here in Qatar form the pit lane. Anyway, I had a good pace and I was pretty happy with my speed. If I would have been starting from the grid like normal, I maybe could have been fighting on the top as well. But I will try exactly this during the next round in Portugal.”

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Hervé Poncharal

Team Manager


“Fortunately, each weekend is not exactly the same and this weekend was eventful again. Practice and Qualifying is always such a struggle with a Moto3 and the pressure is so huge on the riders and the teams that it’s easy to miss the flying lap and we were far down on the grid.”

“Nevertheless, Ayumu – again, like last week – was a strong contender in the front group and was in contention for the win. It’s an incredible class and corner by corner during 18 laps, it’s a struggle, and it was hard for us watching the tv, but we were very proud of what Ayumu was doing. I think the bike is fast, Ayumu was riding it the right way and until two laps to go we thought there could be a podium or eventually even a win. Unfortunately, there was a small mistake by a rider in front of him, which allowed the top 5 guys to break away.”

“It was too late to recover, but Ayumu very wisely managed to stay nearly first of the chasing group, which is seventh position. We know, we can have more. He was a bit disappointed, but we are happy. We have to finish races. There are many to come and we know there may be even better days, but the main thing was to get the feeling and the confidence back for team and the riders. This is what Ayumu did and we are proud of him.”

“On the other side of the garage, Deniz has had a very tough weekend. He was penalized being too slow on the out lap of Q1 and had to start from the pit lane with six other riders. But he very bravely managed to recover to 18th position, doing very decent lap times and I think with a few laps more, he could have been in the leading group. The most important for him was to get his confidence back in his head, because he was completely lost. I think he’s got a smile on his face now.”

“We know our two guys are hopefully back on track in their heads with the right confidence. Let’s say the championship restarts in Portimao. I can’t wait to be there and hopefully our two riders train hard in order to fight for the podium in Portugal. A huge thank you to the entire Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew for their hard work during these three weeks here in Qatar.”

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