06.10.2019 | news
Heartbreak for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing at Thailand GP
Moto3 riders McPhee and Sasaki leave Thailand disappointed as both fail to finish at Buriram despite podium pace
The Thailand Grand Prix has ended in heartbreak for both John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki after both PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3 riders failed to finish at the Buriram International Circuit. Both looked strong in Sunday’s race, however McPhee was the victim of another rider’s aggressive error while Sasaki crashed out while moving from last on the grid to the fight for the top five.
McPhee made a strong start from P13 on the grid and immediately got stuck into the fight for the podium, running in fifth on lap seven when another rider struck him and two others and caused them to fall from the race. Conceding fourth place in the championship after being left unable to score points, McPhee was still keen to focus on the positives after another strong weekend with PETRONAS Sprinta Racing despite the outcome. The rider who caused his crash was subsequently penalised by race direction.
Sasaki was also left with nothing to show for his day despite a great start to the race, making up for a back-of-the-grid penalty by moving from P28 to inside the top ten in only a few laps. Sitting in P7 and closing down on the leaders, he made a small mistake on lap 15 that took him out of the race so was unable to convert his speed into what would have been a strong result.
McPhee and Sasaki will return to Moto3 action at the Grand Prix of Japan on 20th October, with practice getting underway at the Twin Ring Motegi on 18th October.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
“It’s a shame today because John was clearly in the podium fight all race. He looked strong and the bike looked fast, and the guys clearly did a good job with the setting. But he was taken out by another rider, and it’s both not good to have things like that always happening in Moto3 and it’s not good for our championship. John and the team did their jobs well and they’ll come back strongly. With Ayumu, he had a clear target of making up as many places as possible straight away and he did a fantastic job. We did everything right, but unfortunately he just made a small mistake and crashed. He proved that he had the speed to fight at the front though.”
“I want to focus on the positive things about the race, and I felt really strong, the bike was fast, I could brake late and I could fight. It was another great weekend for us up to the race, and it proves that our base setting is working. My focus for the first 75% of the race was to stay out of trouble, but unfortunately, I got hit from behind by another rider and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. We’ll keep focusing on how strong we were and look forward to the next race.”
“I’m really disappointed because I made a great start and we were so strong at the beginning of the race. It was a tough weekend after a small mistake on Friday put us on the back of the grid, but my crew did an incredible job all weekend and they helped me to focus again for the race. They didn’t give up, and it made me realise I had to do the same. I had a good rhythm and made it through to seventh, but I knew I had to push a little bit more to catch the front group and get onto the podium. I made an error and I’m so disappointed, but I need to put it behind me and prepare for the next race, especially as it’s my home race.”