McPhee and Sasaki complete first day of Dutch GP

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders finish 13th and 24th on first day of Free Practice at Assen.

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing ended the first day of the Dutch GP with John McPhee 13th and Ayumu Sasaki 24th in the combined Moto3 standings, after both riders worked on their race pace in preparation for Sunday’s race at Assen.

In FP1, McPhee finished eighth with a time of 1min 43.134secs. The Briton devoted practice to accumulating the maximum number of laps possible and setting long runs with a focus on pace, opting to reserve his preferred set of soft tyres for FP3 and Qualifying on Saturday.

Sasaki started the day calmly, and in FP1 looked to improve both his lap times and his feeling lap after lap. The Japanese rider clocked his fastest time of the morning session with a 1min 43.683secs on the first hot lap of his final run, finishing 17th.

In the afternoon, both riders went quicker. McPhee finished in 13th position thanks to a best time of 1min 42.385secs, securing a provisional spot in Q2. Sasaki ended the day in 24th place – 1min 42.899 secs – although he was just over a second off the best time of the day.

Tomorrow the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders will try to seal a place in Q2 during FP3. Qualifying for the Dutch GP will take place at 12:35pm local time (Q1) and 1pm (Q2).

#71 Ayumu Sasaki

“I had expected a little more today, so I’m somewhat disappointed with how things went here. We focused on the race and on working on our pace, but we also sought to set a good lap time. We have to detect what didn’t work today and improve for tomorrow. There are still two days ahead of us so we will remain focused. If we do a good job in FP3 tomorrow, we can be strong in qualifying. The goal for Saturday is to try to achieve a good position on the grid. Everyone is going very fast, so I need to try to get up to speed with the top riders as soon as possible.”

#17 John McPhee

“The main objective today was to achieve a good race pace. We know we can be fast here and that’s why we saved our tyres as much as possible for tomorrow, both for FP3 and for Qualifying. I only used one set of soft tyres today, and I did a long run with those. I’m happy with my pace, especially when the tyres start to wear. Even when working on pace, I managed to get into positions that would earn me a spot in Q2, and that’s positive. The day has been satisfactory.”