PETRONAS Sprinta Racing duo McPhee and Sasaki clinch sixth and ninth in tricky conditions
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing duo of John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki go into the Moto3 championship’s summer break with two strong results to show for their efforts at the German Grand Prix, taking sixth and ninth respectively in tricky conditions at the Sachsenring.
Overnight rain meant that the track was much-changed from yesterday’s conditions, but Sasaki and McPhee were nonetheless able to convert pole position and tenth on the grid into strong starts. Involved in the battle for the victory from beginning to end, they never dropped outside the top ten despite frantic position changes in the leading group.
Chopping and changing positions until the final laps, tyre degradation meant that McPhee wasn’t quite able to put up a fight for the podium, but he takes valuable points into the summer break. Finishing sixth in the race, he now also sits sixth in the title race.
The race was a valuable learning experience for team-mate Sasaki as he came home just behind McPhee in ninth. Unable to fight for the podium as he expected as he struggled in one area of the German circuit, he’s keen to use the experience gained to come back stronger at the next round.
The next round of the 2019 Moto3 season takes place after their three-week summer break, kicking off again with the Czech Grand Prix at Brno on 2-4 August.
“It was an enjoyable race with a big battle, although the pace was quite slow as track conditions changed after the rain. We went for the hard tyre option for the first time this year and I didn’t really know when to expect its performance to drop off, and I struggled a little for speed at the end of the race. I could hold my own and put up a fight, but I just didn’t have the pace to stay at the front when it mattered. It was a typical Moto3 battle, and P6 in the race and in the championship is a great way to round off the first half of the season.”
“I felt good all weekend and we’ve made a big improvement. I tried to stay strong in the race and to remain calm. I knew there were places where I was strong and places where I was weaker, and I had to manage it. I expected to be a little stronger in the race because we had enough pace to win or be on the podium, but I couldn’t manage to be there in the end. There’s a lot we can learn from the weekend though, and we can move forward into the summer break, relax, and come back stronger.”
“John started from tenth and was able to come through to lead the race. As always, he was right in the fight. We’re very happy with his performance and sixth is a great result for him, especially as it gets us closer to the top three in the championship. It was a great weekend for Ayumu with pole position and fighting in the front group for the whole race. We hoped from pole that he could fight for top three, but it’s just so hard in Moto3 and to have everything on your side, and he didn’t quite have the luck in the final laps after getting distrubed by other riders.”