08.03.2020 | news
Second for McPhee in Qatar Moto3 race
It was second for McPhee and PETRONAS Sprinta Racing in Qatar Moto3 race, with Khairul Idham Pawi 26thAfter a very tense and close Qatar Moto3 race John McPhee claimed the second step of the podium for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing, just losing out on the win by 0.053 seconds. Team-mate Khairul Idham Pawi made steady progress to finish 26th.
The first race of the year didn’t start the way that McPhee might have wanted, after finding himself stuck in the pack as the riders made their way into the first corner after lights out. However, the Scot stayed with the 18-strong pack throughout the opening phases of the race, biding his time until the field started to spread out. Constantly in the mix for the top seven places, McPhee took his turn on the front of the pack before running wide and dropping back a couple of places. The last lap saw him put some space between himself and third place as he challenged for the lead. Tucking in as much as possible behind his screen, McPhee crossed the line just 0.053 seconds shy of first place.
Meanwhile team-mate KIP, who made his racing return this weekend, made steady progress throughout the 18 laps round Losail International Circuit. With a lot of work to do aboard his Honda NSF250RW machine from 31st on the grid, after having his fastest lap time deleted yesterday, KIP was able to spend the race making his way through the field and gain more confidence aboard his bike. At the chequered flag the young Malaysian had made it up to 26th position.
Due to the postponement of the Thai GP, there will now be an extended break for the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing team before Moto3 action is due to recommence at the Circuit of the Americas next month (3-5 April).
With John it’s been a great end to the pre-season testing, we could see that he was fast all the time and had good race pace. Moto3 is very tough and is very difficult to predict because there are so many riders together on this track. There is the long straight and you need a good setup, ours worked well. Our plan was to attack in the last three or four laps and that’s what John did. Maybe in the beginning he was a bit too cautious and was staying a bit too far back, but he rode a very clever race and the last few laps were quite possibly his best with this team. Everything went to plan so I’m really happy to come away from here with 20 points.
From the beginning it has been quite difficult for KIP to adapt to the Moto3 bike but he’s been working his way through. He’s just too slow at the moment, we need to pick up the pace and he needs to start understanding the bike, which will come. We don’t want him to lose confidence so we continue to support him and help him adapt. I’m sure it will come soon for him though.
It’s a fantastic way to start and I’m so happy for the team and for everyone that’s been working hard around me to make this possible. We’ve worked all off-season for this; I’ve worked with my crew and really focused on being alone on track to work on the race pace. To then put all the practice into the performance today was a really nice feeling. The first seven or eight laps caught me a little unawares as I didn't expect some of the guys to be so strong. I knew that my main strength was at the end of the race on the used tyre so I was keeping that in mind trying to stay with the top seven. I almost put the perfect plan together. I thought about making a lunge on the last corner of the last lap but I knew from watching races from the last few years that only once has someone been able to lead from the last corner across the line so I thought it was a good plan to be second out of the last corner. It didn’t pay off but I’m really happy to be on the podium.
Khairul Idham Pawi
It was a very difficult race, especially when starting from the back. My pace was not strong today and was hard, but we know where we can improve. We will work really hard and try to improve every race. For me, it was difficult after one year of no racing but to fight with people again feels good. It was a very difficult last season not to be racing. I need to build my confidence again after being injured and so we keep working towards this and results will come.