Today’s Italian Grand Prix saw PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders Ayumu Sasaki and Adam Norrodin conclude the weekend with a bitter end, despite looking set to make it their best Grand Prix of the year.
Heroically qualifying on the front row after suffering a big crash during Saturdays Free Practice three, seventeen-year-old Sasaki endured a challenging 20 lap race. The Japanese rider relentlessly pushed through increased pain in his foot and a deteriorating engine performance, to cross the line in 16th place, just missing out on the points.
Making a big step during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, teammate Adam Norrodin made a solid start from eighth place on the grid. Immediately launching himself into six position, Norrodin looked in strong form, when a small mistake brought a premature end to the Malaysian’s race, crashing out on the third lap.
Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“We’ve made very good progress this weekend from the last three rounds; both riders have improved their practice and qualifying. We could see that both Adam and Ayumu had a strong race pace here, so we were confident going into todays GP. With Ayumu starting from the front row, he had a great opportunity to go with the front group. He made a good start and was immediately fighting with the top five. Unfortunately the top three riders broke away and he got swallowed up by the group behind him; from that point we knew it would be difficult for him, because when you have to fight so much in a group, with so many riders, you have to be 100% fit to be able to pass and stay in the front. It was very hard for Ayumu to do this today, especially with his injury; It was not easy for him. It’s a shame he couldn’t finish with some points. For Adam, he also made a very good step this weekend and we are very happy for that. He was very upset after the qualifying because he felt that he could have done more. For the race he made a great start from eighth place and was immediately in the second group with Ayumu. On lap three he had a very big high-side and his race was over. He was pushing hard and he said he felt good; when you are on the limit like that, these things can happen, its just unfortunate. Nevertheless this weekend has been a boost for him and his confidence is back, so we just have to keep working and come back fighting in Barcelona.”
#7 ADAM NORRODIN – DNF
“I was really motivated for this race today; I made a good start from 8th place and felt strong. I was up to 6th place on the third lap but then going into the third corner, Canet passed me so tightly; I had to pick my bike up a little to try and save myself, but then as soon as I went to get some lean angle again, the bike made a massive high-side. I am so disappointed because I have felt so confident this weekend and was expecting a really good result here. It’s such a shame because we had the pace and the opportunity to get some really good points today. I’m sorry that I could not do this for my team. I will try even harder at the next race.”
#71 AYUMU SASAKI – P16
“When I woke up this morning I had a little bit more pain in my foot because I hadn’t had any pain killers during the night. We went out and I tried to make some laps to check the bike, but unfortunately in the first corner when I had to shift down five gears I struggled with my foot and I ended up going straight on into the gravel; we then couldn’t finish the warm up. At that moment I knew the race was going to be difficult. The team have been working so hard and the bike has been working really well, so I just wanted to make a good race for them. I made a good start to the race and I tried to follow the first three riders but unfortunately I made a big mistake in turn two which caused me to loose the leaders. – I dropped back into the second group. For the first ten laps I had a good feeling on the bike and could pass many riders in the braking. I tried to stay with the top four of my group. The race was going well until the half-way point when my foot started to hurt more. I also started to notice that my engine performance was declining, and I could no longer hold my position on the straight. Six riders would pass me, then I would manage to pass maybe three back in the corners, but each lap I would have the same problem, so I really struggled to progress through the pack, so kept dropping further back. On the last lap I tried so hard to get back into the points; I managed to pass three riders going into the last corner but then in the drag to the line I was pushed back to 16th. I’m really disappointed because we had such a good opportunity to do well here starting from the front row. Anyway now we have to go away and see what happened with the bike. It was still a good experience to start from the front row, so I’m happy for this. I have gained a lot more confidence this weekend. I will try again in Barcelona.”
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