Fourth row for McPhee at Catalan GP

British rider finishes tenth in Q2. Team-mate Ayumu Sasaki will mount a fightback from 23rd on the grid.

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee clocked the tenth best time in Saturday’s qualifying session for the Catalan GP and will start the race from the fourth row of the grid. Moto3 team-mate Ayumu Sasaki did not make it out of Q1, and will take off from 23rd.

McPhee set a fastest lap of 1min 49.454secs in Q2. The British rider opted for a two-stint strategy, but did not manage to improve his time on his second run, and will thus start from the fourth row at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit.

Whilst McPhee went straight through to Q2, Sasaki had to participate in Q1, and missed the cut by finishing in 9th place. The Japanese rider, who also employed a two-stint strategy, set a 1min 49.782secs lap on his final run. It was slower than his best time from the morning and put him in 23rd place on the grid – on the eighth row.

In FP3, McPhee put in the 14th fastest time of 1min 48.975secs, going directly into Q2 for the fifth occasion in seven races this season. Sasaki finished the morning session in 23rd place, with a best lap of 1min 49.607secs.

The 21-lap Moto3 race will take place tomorrow at 11:00am local time.

#71 Ayumu Sasaki

“I expected a little more from today. I struggled a little yesterday front-end turn-in from the bike but today it was worse. We tried to fix this, but we didn’t go in the right direction with the set-up. In qualifying I simply couldn’t set a quick lap. I should have been able to set a faster lap today but there is also potential to improve the bike too. I think that we will go better in the race, but what we have to try to do now is move on and think about tomorrow. The potential is better than the speed shown on my fast laps.”

#17 John McPhee

“It was a difficult qualifying session – and a difficult day overall. My speed isn’t bad, especially on long runs, but I’m struggling when looking for a fast lap; qualifying has been the hardest session of the entire weekend. Finishing 10th is ok, but our goal was to be on one of the first three rows. We are a little behind where we would like to be, but the race is tomorrow and my strong point this weekend has been my race pace. Hopefully we can get a good start and we can be in the fight. My fast laps aren’t fantastic, but I think that battling in a big group I can be strong. I think we’ll have a good fight tomorrow.”