02.11.2019 | news
Flying third for McPhee at PETRONAS Sprinta Racing’s home race
John McPhee will line up on the front row of the grid at tomorrow’s Malaysian GP with team-mate Ayumu Sasaki in P8
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee has taken a flying third position in Moto3 qualifying for tomorrow’s Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, using tactics to his advantage to secure a front-row start despite damp conditions. It was a strong day all round for the squad with team-mate Ayumu Sasaki set to start tomorrow’s race at the Sepang International Circuit in eighth.
McPhee set his time on his first flying lap of the Q2 session as light rain started to fall around the track, gauging conditions perfectly to lock down his spot on the front row. Venturing out again as the weather continued to deteriorate but unable to improve on his 2min 11.990secs lap-time around the 5.5km circuit, it means that he ended the day only 0.232secs off pole position and on the front row for the fourth time this season.
Sasaki was also quick to set a lap time in the session, matching his team-mate McPhee by using his first fast time to establish himself on the second row. Spending much of the session in fourth and looking set for one of his best starting positions of the 2019 Moto3 season, he just lost out a little in the final seconds to line up eighth.
Both McPhee and Sasaki will use a special livery in tomorrow’s home GP thanks to title sponsor PETRONAS and their #tambahpowerPSRT campaign. The livery will be unveiled in the Sepang pit lane on Saturday evening ahead of Sunday’s race.
Moto3 action at the Sepang International Circuit concludes tomorrow at with the 17-lap Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix race getting underway at 1200 local time.
“Yesterday I was so disappointed to be P24 when we had the pace to be at the front, so it’s very nice to be able to turn it around for the team’s home Grand Prix. The conditions were really tricky, with rain falling the whole way around the circuit - and I was still able to do my fastest lap of the weekend! After that, it kept coming down and I saw a few guys nearly crash in front of me so I knew there wouldn’t be much opportunity to improve. I know I can fight tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to the race. It’s an important one for the team but we’ve been at the front fighting for the win for half a season, so I’m just going to try and treat it like a normal event. My pace is really strong on used tyres, so let’s see what we can do.”
“I’m happy with the day, because after a big crash yesterday the target was to stay on the bike. OK, you’re always trying not to come off, but today I especially didn’t want to take many risks because I’ve still got a lot of pain from Friday. In the last laps of qualifying when the rain started, I didn’t feel like I could push any harder, so I’ll start eighth. It’s a good position to fight from tomorrow, and I’ll rest up as much as possible tonight so that I’m fit and ready to go in the morning. I feel good for it because my rhythm is strong, and I want to be prepared to give 100% for the team.”