McPhee fourth on sunny start to Spanish GP

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider John McPhee is quickest in the opening session at Jerez, ending the day in fourth place. Ayumu Sasaki was 20th overall.

John McPhee enjoyed a good first day of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider topped the timesheets in FP1, then placed fourth in the overall times for Friday. Teammate Ayumu Sasaki made progress from morning to afternoon, concluding the day in 20th – just one tenth off making the provisional cut for Q2.

McPhee was the fastest rider in FP1 thanks to a 1:47.052 time set in his last lap of 14 in total, at the Andalusian track. The Scotsman changed his practice emphasis for this GP, shifting his focus to overtaking and simulating race situations. Sasaki finished 15th in the session, although he was only half a second off the top spot, after clocking a 1:47.631.

In the afternoon, high track temperatures made it difficult to improve lap times during the early stages of FP2. McPhee suffered a crash at Turn 1 with more than sixteen minutes remaining, but was able to quickly return to the box and rejoin the session for the final minutes. He would finish in ninth place, with a 1:47.472 lap. Sasaki rounded off the second session of the day with a 1:47.592 for 14th, going 20th overall and just a tenth off provisional progress to Q2.

Tomorrow the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders will have a forty minute FP3 session in which to achieve a spot in Q2. Qualifying will take place at 12:35 pm local time (Q1) and 1:00pm (Q2).


#71 Ayumu Sasaki
“It feels good to be back at Jerez. Coming here is like going to the first race of the season, as it’s a similar feeling to Qatar; it’s a different experience to other races and I feel very motivated. Today was a good day for us. We made a couple of mistakes, but we finished quite well: 14th in FP2 and 20th overall. It was hotter than I expected in FP2 and we couldn’t improve our lap times as much as I had hoped. I made a mistake on my last run, so we know what we have to do tomorrow. We have room for improvement. FP3 will be important as it’s always easier to get a fast lap time in the morning here. We have to concentrate on that to get into Q2 and try to be prepared for the race.”


#17 John McPhee
“I think it’s been a very good start to the weekend. Jerez is always a circuit where I really enjoy riding. Everyone is very fast and it’s difficult to stay on top. I was surprised that I finished FP1 in first place, because I didn’t expect to have such a strong pace. In FP2 we tried to do a long run with the hard tyre; I was working well and running a good pace, but then I made a mistake and crashed. I was fortunate enough to be able to remount and I am very happy with the team, who worked very quickly to fix the bike so that I could go out again during the session. I could only complete one lap at the end, improving but not having time to show my true potential in the second session. Nevertheless it has been a good day overall and we hope to continue improving tomorrow.”