01.11.2019 | news

Highs and lows on opening day at Sepang for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing

Sasaki finishes in P4 but McPhee back in P24 after late crash at Sepang International Circuit

PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3’s Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee have had a day of highs and lows to kick off the action at the 2019 Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, finishing the day in P4 and P24 respectively. Both showed fast pace despite crashing at the Sepang International Circuit as they fought high temperatures and tricky conditions at the team’s home race.


Sasaki was caught out in the early stages of this morning’s FP1 as he headed out on a damp track. Taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks, he was able to return to action in FP2 and ended the day in fourth. Setting a time of 2mins 12.777secs around the 5.5km track, he was able to secure his provisional route to tomorrow’s Q2 by finishing only 0.311secs from the fastest man after bouncing back to spend much of the session in P1.


McPhee had a quiet start to the day this morning, electing to sit out most of FP1 as heavy overnight rain left the track still damp as action got underway. Completing only four laps, he was quick to make up for lost ground in FP2 and spent much of the session inside the top eight, although unfortunately a small tip off as time attacks got underway means he ended the day back in P24.


Moto3 action at the Sepang International Circuit continues tomorrow at 0900 local time, ahead of qualifying at 1235 and Sunday’s 17-lap Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.


Ayumu Sasaki

“Unfortunately when we went out this morning the track condition wasn’t the best, and despite not pushing too hard the rear tyre spun up on me and I had a big highside. I didn’t know whether I would ride FP2 or not, but we decided we should in case FP3 tomorrow is in similar conditions to this morning. We tried to do our best, and in the end I was able to have a very good result in fourth after spending most of the session in P1. We have some advantage versus the other riders because we tested here at the start of the season, but if we can find another step forward from where we are now tomorrow then we’ll be in a good position. I’ve still got a little bit of pain all over my body, so I’ll do my best to recover ahead of a long, hot race on Sunday.”


John McPhee

“It’s been a difficult start to the weekend, but to focus on the positives I had two red sectors on the lap that I crashed, which shows that the potential is there to be fast. It was unfortunate and it means that if there’s rain tomorrow I’ll need to go through Q1, but considering the speed is there to be fast we’ll be hoping it’s dry. We started with our base setting from the last race, because a lot has changed since the test back in February, but there are some points on the track that are good to use as a reference.”


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