Colin Veijer fended off team-mate Ayumu Sasaki to secure victory in the Malaysian Moto3 encounter at the Sepang International Circuit, while several title hopefuls crashed out.   

Veijer showed impressive performance throughout the 15-lap event as he continuously disputed the lead with series leader Jaume Masia, Sasaki as well as KTM Ajo’s Deniz Oncu.

The Husqvarna rider kept his powder dry and remained in the leading group of just six as the final third of the attritional race got underway, a group which was reduced to three with two laps remaining after Jose Antonio Rueda outbraked himself and took out Oncu at the final bend.

Veijer led the way at the start of the final tour ahead of Sasaki and Masia, though team-mate Sasaki tried to snatch away the lead at Turn 4. Veijer snapped back perfectly though and swept back around the outside of the Japanese pilot at Turn 5.

Sasaki regrouped and elected to follow Veijer around the rest of the lap for a final corner attack, all the time defending from Masia. Having got close enough for an attack, Sasaki once again was forced to settle for second as Veijer braked impossibly late to hold the line through the bend.

Achieving a good exit, he flew across the line to secure his maiden Moto3 race victory by just 0.066s ahead of Sasaki and Masia, whose series lead was eroded to 13 points with two rounds remaining.

The fight for the championship now looks to be a two-horse race as Oncu’s late incident – from which he rejoined en route to 12th at the chequered flag – means he is now 55 points off Masia with 50 left on the table. The chances of Daniel Holgado and David Alonso securing maiden successes were also reduced after they crashed early on.

Alonso was pushing to make up ground from 21st on the grid after crashing in qualifying, only to go down again after high siding at Turn 4. Several riders piled into the side of his stricken bike, including Holgado, MT Helmets – Msi’s Diogo Moreira, Ricardo Rossi, and Thai rostrum finisher Taiyo Furusato.

Alonso and Holgado now sit a distant 41 markers off the series lead with two races to run, leaving them with a lot of work to do to get back into the title picture.

Meanwhile, Ivan Ortola survived the chaos to bring his MTA Angeluss machine home in fourth ahead of BOE’s David Munoz, with Adrian Fernandez completing the top six for Leopard Racing.

Xavier Artigas ended up seventh ahead of CFMoto team-mate Joel Kelso. At the same time, Filippo Fairoli and Ryusei Yamanaka moved into the top ten late on ahead of Matteo Bertelle, who was pushed out of the lead battle having to avoid the stricken Oncu at the final corner.

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