Top 15 for McPhee and Sasaki at Spanish GP

The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3 riders finish in the points at the Jerez-Angel Nieto Circuit, with John McPhee 12th and Ayumu Sasaki 15th.

The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing duo concluded the Spanish GP with two point scoring positions inside the top fifteen today. John McPhee achieved a season-best finish of 12th as well as setting the fastest lap with a new circuit record of 1:46.365, whilst teammate Ayumu Sasaki also took points by crossing the line in 15th.

For the third time from the four races so far this season, McPhee added points to his tally and was one of the fastest riders in the opening stages of the race. The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider opted for the soft rear tyre and this helped him to set the new circuit record on lap two as he moved up to sixth place early on. Halfway through the contest, the Briton’s pace dropped, although he would pick it back up on the final laps.

Sasaki chose the hard rear tyre compound and also placed inside the points – for the first time since the Argentina GP. The Japanese rider, who started from 11th on the grid, had a difficult start, but managed to recover to catch the leading group for the initial part of the race. Unfortunately, Sasaki was unable to maintain this pace and dropped away from the front pack to finish three places behind his teammate.

After four races, Sasaki and McPhee are nineteenth and twentieth respectively in the overall standings, with 12 and 9 points to their names. The next Moto3 round will be the French GP, held at Le Mans from May 17– 19th.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Director
“It hasn’t been a good weekend for us. We had hoped that we could fight to win the race, as we had a good pace, but today wasn’t our day. John [McPhee] made a good start and had two very strong opening laps. It was looking promising for him, but for some reason he dropped back several positions and was unable to maintain his pace. We have to find out what happened there. Ayumu [Sasaki] had a hard time overtaking during the race and therefore couldn’t fight for positions. He was in the top ten in the first half of the race, but then he fell back. We have managed to claim some points today, but we will have to change the way we work ahead of Le Mans.”

#71 Ayumu Sasaki
“I felt very good all weekend, both about how the bike was working and our way of working in each session. In qualifying I made a small mistake that caused me to start the race from 11th. I made a good start and although in the first two or three laps I lost the front group, I was able to catch them again later. After the first ten laps my pace was good, but during the entire race I couldn’t brake as I wanted or overtake other riders. The only thing I could do was stick behind the group and not lose touch with them. When the chasing pack caught us, I was left behind and all I could do was try to hold on as much as possible. The positive thing is that I was able to follow them without much difficulty, so our pace was quite good. I’m sorry for the team; we have to keep working and find solutions.”

#17 John McPhee
“So far, we haven’t been getting the results we wanted this season. We suffered again today, but in a totally different area to where we had focused this weekend. At the start I was able to fight and overtake riders, but on lap seven I noticed something strange with the rear on the back straight after passing another rider on the last corner. Maybe it was a puncture, but I don’t really know what happened. I continued riding and after around five laps I got back to the pace I had before. However, by then I had lost contact with the leading group and had to battle with the riders in the second group. The positive thing is that when I felt good I was able to ride more aggressively. I was able to overtake riders on the brakes and get in the fight, which I hadn’t been able to do up until now. There is still work to be done, but we are going in the right direction.”