Stunning comeback from McPhee sets top five finish at Assen

British rider climbs 15 places on Dutch GP race day, while Ayumu Sasaki finishes 17th.

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee had an excellent raceday at Assen today, finishing in fifth position after a great performance, despite starting from the seventh row of the grid. Moto3 team-mate Ayumu Sasaki ran in the top ten for the early part of the race, however crossed the line in 17th after experiencing a high side, meaning he just missed out on points in the Dutch GP.

Although he would take off from 20th place on the grid, McPhee used his pace to steadily gain places, making up 15 before the chequered flag. He reached the leading group in the final part of the race, getting past several from that pack to claim his fifth place. McPhee now occupies eighth in the standings of the World Championship with a total of 58 points.

Sasaki was very close to scoring points for the second consecutive GP. The Japanese rider, who made a great start that led him to reach as high as seventh position, was unable to keep up with the pace of the top riders in the final stage of the race, finishing the Dutch GP in 17th position. Sasaki is 20th in the overall standings with 22 points.

The next event for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing will be the German GP, held next week at Sachsenring from July 5th to 7th.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Director

“This weekend was harder than we expected. We struggled to find a good set-up at the beginning of the weekend. John [McPhee] had a great race, was fighting and pushing a lot. He did a great job, I’m very happy with his result, and we appreciate his effort.

With Ayumu [Sasaki], things were the opposite. Yesterday he had a good qualifying session and he worked well all weekend, but in the race itself he had an issue with his rear tyre, so he dropped back. Today he had an opportunity to be at the front in the race, but unfortunately he couldn’t do it. We will have to find out what happened with his rear tyre.”

#71 Ayumu Sasaki

“I made a good start, but from the first laps onwards I had a problem with the right side of the rear tyre. I did my best to keep going, but I had a big high side at the chicane. It is a circuit with a lot of right-hand corners, so the problem was amplified. It was difficult to ride, so I just tried to finish the race. It was a pity not to fight for the top positions, because the pace of the race was not so fast. We have to concentrate on Germany to try to get a good result before the summer break. I’m disappointed today, so we will have to look at the mistakes made and focus on the next round.”

#17 John McPhee

“That was one of the toughest races I’ve ever experienced. Throughout the weekend I had been able to set a good pace riding alone, but the crash in qualifying forced me to start from far back on the grid. The first laps were very crazy, with a lot of riders doing risky maneuvers. Reaching the front group was very difficult, but finishing in P5 is a great result that gains me some positions in the standings. I can’t wait to get to Sachsenring. Last year I got on the podium there, so I’m looking forward to the race.”