Collin Veijer has scored his maiden victory in the Moto3 World Championship after resisting team-mate Ayumu Sasaki to win the Malaysian Moto3 at Sepang.
The Dutchman emerged on top of a three-way dice for victory to get the better of title rivals Ayumu Sasaki and Jaume Masia, Veijer sprinting across the line with a small margin over his Japanese Husqvarna IntactGP team-mate.
Sasaki, meanwhile, clawed back ground in the fight for this year’s Moto3 title by scampering across the line ahead of Masia, reducing the gap ahead to 13 points.
However, the title battle appears to be coming down to just a two-way battle between the two experienced riders with just two events remaining after David Alonso and Daniel Holgado were eliminated in a crash early on.
A battle that wended between six contenders for much of the race before another collision involving another title hopeful, Deniz Oncu - plus Jose Antonio Rueda and Matteo Bertelle - whittled it down to the three aforementioned rivals, as carnage reigned around him, it was the youngest of the trio that would come out on top.
Presenting a golden opportunity for Masia to stamp his mark on this year’s title fight, the Spaniard was swamped on the run down to Turn 1 by the fast-starting Veijer starting alongside him but would regain his advantage by the end of the opening lap.
However, he’d come under constant pressure from the Husqvarna Intact GP pairing until Sasaki got the jump on him on lap four and proceeded to make the pace until the closing stages in the lead peloton comprising close-following team-mate Veijer, Masia, Deniz Oncu, Matteo Bertelle and Jose Antonio Rueda.
It was a front group that held a sizeable advantage over the opposition, largely thanks to a large incident that eliminated two of the top title contenders in Alonso and Holgado.
Prompted by Alons losing the rear end of his GasGas Aspar on the exit of Turn 4, he was flicked off before his bike was struck by the close-following Holgado, as well as Buriram podium winner Taiyo Furusato and Riccardo Rossi.
Into the closing stages and six would be whittled down to three when Deniz Oncu lost control of his Red Bull KTM Ajo machine at the final corner, taking Rueda with him and delaying Bertelle down the order.
It left Sasaki - who despite being passed by Masia on lap 13, was back in the lead coming into the final lap - leading the Leopard Racing rider and Veijer coming into the final lap.
However, Sasaki - still searching for his maiden victory - up ahead coming into the final lap, only for Veijer to get the run on him and pop ahead of his team-mate and hold position until the chequered flag, leading across the finish for a Husqvarna IntactGP 1-2, trailed by Masia in third.
It means Masia retains his lead in the Moto3 standings coming into the final two events in Qatar and Valencia, his lead now reduced to 13 points over Sasaki, while the hapless Holgado and Alonso find themselves 41 points adrift respectively.
Almost seven seconds adrift of the lead fight, Ivan Ortola made the most of the skirmishes ahead to claim fourth place, ahead of David Munoz and Adrian Fernandexz, with Joel Kelso, Filippo Farioli and Ryusei Yamanaka rounding out the top ten.
The delayed Bertelle and recovering Oncu picked themselves up to take the flag in 11th and 12th, while Vicente Perez was 13th, from VisionTrack Honda duo Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley, ensuring the team its first double points’ finish of the year.
|2023 Malaysian Moto3 | Sepang International Circuit | Race Results | Round 18 of 20|
|1||Collin Veijer||🇳🇱||Husqvarna IntactGP||Husqvarna||15 Laps|
|2||Ayumu Sasaki||🇯🇵||Husqvarna IntactGP||Husqvarna||+0.066|
|3||Jaume Masia||🇪🇦||Leopard Racing||Honda||+0.328|
|4||Ivan Ortola||🇪🇦||Angeluss MTA Team||KTM||+6.830|
|5||David Munoz||🇪🇦||BOE Motorsports||KTM||+6.878|
|6||Adrian Fernandez||🇪🇦||Leopard Racing||Honda||+7.191|
|7||Xavier Artigas||🇪🇦||CFMoto PruestelGP||CFMoto||+7.354|
|8||Joel Kelso||🇦🇺||CFMoto PruestelGP||CFMoto||+7.400|
|9||Filippo Farioli||🇮🇹||Red Bull KTM Tech3||KTM||+11.175|
|10||Ryusei Yamanaka||🇯🇵||GASGAS Aspar M3||GasGas||+11.287|
|11||Matteo Bertelle||🇮🇹||Rivacold Snipers Team||Honda||+11.441|
|12||Deniz Oncu||🇹🇷||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||+14.095|
|13||Vicente Perez||🇪🇦||BOE Motorsports||KTM||+14.490|
|14||Scott Ogden||🇬🇧||VisionTrack Racing||Honda||+15.600|
|15||Joshua Whatley||🇬🇧||VisionTrack Racing||Honda||+17.148|
|16||Stefano Nepa||🇮🇹||Angeluss MTA Team||KTM||+17.195|
|17||Lorenzo Fellon||🇫🇷||CIP Green Power||KTM||+17.251|
|18||David Salvador||🇪🇦||CIP Green Power||CFMoto||+35.410|
|19||Mario Suryo Aji||🇮🇩||Honda Team Asia||Honda||+35.517|
|20||Syarifuddin Azman||🇲🇾||MT Helmets - MSI||KTM||+55.108|
|DNF||Jose Antonio Rueda||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM|
|DNF||Kaito Toba||🇯🇵||SIC58 Squadra Corse||Honda|
|DNF||David Alonso||🇨🇴||GASGAS Aspar M3||GasGas|
|DNF||Diogo Moreira||🇧🇷||MT Helmets - MSI||KTM|
|DNF||Riccardo Rossi||🇮🇹||SIC58 Squadra Corse||Honda|
|DNF||Daniel Holgado||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Tech3||KTM|
|DNF||Taiyo Furusato||🇯🇵||Honda Team Asia||Honda|
|DNF||Romano Fenati||🇮🇹||Rivacold Snipers Team||Honda|