Third row for McPhee after wet qualifying session

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider takes eighth place on a day in which FP3 is cancelled due to heavy rain. Ayumu Sasaki will start from the sixth row at Austin.

Following the cancellation of FP3 due to rain and lightning at the Circuit of The Americas, the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders had to adapt to difficult wet conditions in this afternoon’s Q2 session. John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki experienced a tricky 15 minutes of action in qualifying, but would place in 8th and 17th place respectively.

As expected, Saturday was a wet day in Austin. However the rainfall – accompanied by lightning – at the scene of the Americas GP was so intense that FP3 was delayed for all three World Championship classes. They would eventually all be cancelled, meaning that the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders would go straight into Moto3 Q2 on the basis of their times set on Friday.

Due to the difficult conditions, the pair had limited time to set their best possible laps and ensure a positive spot on the grid. McPhee completed a total of six laps, setting his best time of 2:32.071 on the last of them. That put him in eighth position on the grid. Sasaki clocked a 2:36.299 on his sixth and final lap, to take seventeenth.

The Moto3 Americas GP will start at 11:00 local time tomorrow.

#71 Ayumu Sasaki

“We started very well yesterday, but today we didn’t have FP3 and the conditions were very different. It was very difficult because we only had fifteen minutes in which to adapt to the wet conditions. It was my first time in the wet at the Circuit of The Americas, so it takes a little longer to set a good lap time. I think it was more down to me than to the setup, as I just couldn’t push to my limit. I’m a little disappointed. We start from 17th tomorrow, which will complicate things, but in the dry we have confidence on the bike. I just have to concentrate on the warm-up, try things out with the bike again and prepare for the race. I’m pretty confident in the dry, so I just need to concentrate and try to be up at the front in the race.”

#17 John McPhee

“It was a tough session. For one of the first times ever, I was a bit nervous before this session, because I’d never ridden this bike in the rain. It’s difficult to understand how the bike works, find a feeling and qualify in just fifteen minutes, but I think I did quite a good job to get into eighth position. My pace wasn’t so bad and lap by lap I was feeling more confident on the bike; If we had another wet session I’m sure I could be even stronger. Starting from the third row tomorrow, after this difficult session, is not a bad spot to be in. We need to see what the weather does tomorrow, but I feel strong now in both the wet and dry conditions. There are a couple of riders that look really fast in the dry, but I’m sure if I can get to the front on the opening laps I can go with them. It’s going to be a tough race, but I’m feeling good.”

RESULTS

1. NICCOLO ANTONELLI / Honda 2:31.346
2. RAUL FERNANDEZ / KTM +0.501
3. GABRIEL RODRIGO / Honda +0.783
4. JAUME MASIA / KTM +0.798
5. DARRYN BINDER / KTM +0.875
8. JOHN MCPHEE / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing +1.355
17. AYUMU SASAKI / PETRONAS Sprinta Racing +4.953