PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider finishes 14th at the Americas GP, whilst teammate Ayumu Sasaki crashes out of the race.
In contrast to the intense rain that fell on Saturday at the Circuit of the Americas, the Sunday action in Austin took place under sunny conditions for the Moto3 World Championship riders. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing duo experienced mixed fortunes in the third race of the year: John McPhee managed to finish the contest in 14th, but teammate Ayumu Sasaki would crash out with only two laps remaining.
On the opening laps of the Moto3 race, a large group formed that consisted of 19 riders, including McPhee and Sasaki. As the laps went by, the leading riders made their attack, stretching the group that the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing pair were at the back of – McPhee in 18th and Sasaki in 19th.
This prevented both riders from closing in on the top spots, although McPhee would fight for 12th place – eventually finishing 14th. Sasaki was one of eight riders to crash out of the demanding race, going to ground at Turn 6 on the penultimate lap, whilst riding in 16th.
Having completed the Americas GP, Ayumu Sasaki now lies 15th in the overall standings with 11 points, whilst John McPhee is 20th, with 5. The next event for the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders will be the Spanish Grand Prix on the 5th May.
1. ARON CANET / KTM 39:06.761
2. JAUME MASIA / KTM +0.909
3. ANDREA MIGNO / KTM +1.077
4. GABRIEL RODRIGO / Honda +1.104
5. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda +1.187
14. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing +8.780
-. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing DNF
1. JAUME MASIA / KTM 45 points
2. ARON CANET / KTM 45 points
3. LORENZO DALLA PORTA / Honda 32 points
4. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda 32 points
5. KAITO TOBA / Honda 31 points
15. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing 11 points
20. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing 5 points
Johan Stigefelt – Team Director
“It was not a good race today in Moto3. We struggled a bit at this race and I don’t know why. Qualifying was good for John [McPhee], so we don’t really know what happened here – we need to work on it. He says he had some small issues with the front end. We will get better for the next race and maybe we will work in a different way during the sessions, so that we know better what we need for the race.
Ayumu [Sasaki] did OK at the start and then after lap six he had big chattering issues with the front, before crashing with two laps to go. He said he had a lot of pain in his arms and that it was difficult to race, so we have to check on that as well. This was definitely not the race we had hoped to have. It’s time to work hard and come back stronger at Jerez.”
#71 Ayumu Sasaki
“I made a good start and immediately gained some positions. I was feeling comfortable riding up until the sixth lap, when I noticed that something didn’t feel right on my bike. I had a lot of chattering and I had to use a lot of strength to control the bike. That meant that my arms were exhausted as the laps went by and I had to lower my pace. I slotted into 16th and just tried to hold my position there in case something happened at the front, so that I could claim some points. Unfortunately I lost control of the bike going into the corner and I went to the ground. This afternoon we will look at the telemetry to see what happened. It was a difficult weekend, especially due to the weather conditions yesterday, but we will come back stronger for the start of the European rounds.”
#17 John McPhee
“I’m disappointed with today’s result. It was a difficult race from the very beginning. I gambled with the hard rear tyre because I thought that on the final laps it would be better. I don’t know if that was the issue or not but I struggled for speed and pace, especially at the beginning of the race. When I was riding alone I felt fast and that I could set a good lap time, but my biggest problem was trying to overtake the other riders. We learnt a lot in this race, but we have work to do for Jerez. The main thing is that the speed is there, so we need to continue working to be in the fight from the beginning of the race.”