03.11.2019 | news
McPhee focusing on positives after P7 in Malaysian GP
John McPhee comes home seventh for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing but Ayumu Sasaki unfortunate to crash out of top ten
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3 rider John McPhee is focusing on the positives from his weekend at the Sepang International Circuit after finishing today’s Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in seventh following contact with another rider. It was a less fortunate day for team-mate Ayumu Sasaki, however, as he crashed out of the battle for the top ten at the team’s home race.
McPhee was quick to get involved in the fight for the podium in the early stages of the race, implementing his typical strategy of sitting comfortably inside the top six and conserving his tyres. However, taking avoiding action on lap six to miss a crash right in front of him, he was struck by another rider, leaving him to nurse home a damaged machine to seventh. Only 1.342secs from the win and less than half a second from a podium finish, the result helps him to protect his fifth place in the championship.
Sasaki looked set to be on for one of his best results of the season, running inside the top ten until he was caught out by a highside at turn four. Dropping back from his starting position of eighth when the lights went out, he was able to find his rhythm as the race progressed and was making inroads on the leading group when he fell. He was taken to the medical centre afterwards for precautionary checks after injuring his right hand in the fall, and will undergo further assesment when he returns home to Japan.
The 2019 Moto3 season will conclude in two weeks’ time at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, with track action getting underway on 14th November and race day on Sunday 17th November.
Johan Stigefelt - Team Director
“We had a good weekend, especially with John, and the guys were strong in every session even if Ayumu had some bad luck with too many crashes. John started well and was right up there at the front, but something hit his bike after a big crash he was lucky to avoid and from that point until the end of the race he couldn’t really challenge for the top. We had a strategy to attack in the last two laps and we knew right away that something was wrong when that didn’t happen. Ayumu struggled in the race but he was involved in an incident at turn four and unfortunately he crashed out.”
“I felt really good at the start of the race, and was trying to conserve my tyres and not do anything silly. There was a crash in front of me six laps in and I had to roll off the throttle to avoid it - and someone hit me from behind. We’re checking to be sure, but it felt like the impact took a chunk out of the rear tyre and instantly I had a vibration appear. It got less and less as the race progressed and for 75% of the lap it wasn’t an issue, but in the long corners where you’re on the side of the tyre, it upset the front. It’s a shame not to be in the fight for the win on the last lap and it wasn’t the result I was hoping for at the team’s home race, but it’s more points on the board and more data gathered for 2020.”
“This weekend has been difficult from the start, despite having good pace on the track. We never managed to put it all together and I crashed three times. In the race, another rider passed me and I ran wide, and when I picked up a little bit of throttle I had a big highside. It was entirely my own fault, but when you’re fighting in a group it’s always difficult to do what you want and to see where you’re going. I’ve got some time before Valencia now to rest and recuperate.”