03.04.2021 | news
Second row DohaGP start for Binder and third row for McPhee
Darryn Binder and John McPhee seventh and eighth in qualifying at Losail
PETRONAS Sprinta Racing’s Darryn Binder and John McPhee battled wind and dust throughout the day at Losail International Circuit, to claim seventh and eighth in qualifying respectively. Due to another rider’s penalty, Binder will start from the second row in sixth with McPhee one row behind in seventh.
Binder had a strong start to FP3, staying within the top places throughout the majority of the session with a 2mins 7.814secs lap. He maintained his place at the top of the combined times thanks to his FP2 lap. Working together with McPhee at the start of Q2, the South African ended his first run in tenth. Pushing hard on his final lap, Darryn’s 2mins 6.643secs lap time placed him seventh at the chequered flag. However this will be converted to sixth on the grid, because a rider ahead will have to start the race from the pitlane.
Team-mate McPhee was able to set some good times during FP3, ending the session third with a 2mins 7.557secs lap. With slower laps than those yesterday, it was his FP2 time that saw him straight through to Q2. The Scot led Binder out on the first run, but experienced a moment out on track, which left him with it all to do on his final lap. After posting a time just 0.003secs shy of Darryn – 2mins 6.646secs – John ended Q2 in eighth. However, he will also gain a position on the grid due to the rider penalty.
The DohaGP race day will begin for Binder and McPhee tomorrow at 2.40pm local time (7.40pm MYT) with Warm Up, before the 18-lap Moto3 race gets underway at 5pm local time (10pm MYT).
It’s been a difficult day with the wind, there has been so much sand blown onto the track that the conditions have been quite bad. FP3 wasn’t too difficult and it meant we got an idea of what it was going to be like for qualifying. My first run in Q2 was just about checking out the conditions, to see what was going on. At the end we tried to put in a real time attack lap but, especially in this weather, the slipstream helps so much and I didn’t get one unfortunately. I pushed as hard as I could. I’m starting on the second row, due to another rider’s penalty and I’m happy with my grid position.
The target is always to be on the front three rows, because you know that if you’re within the top-ten on the first lap you can finish anywhere within those places. I think there was more possible in the session, we missed a little bit with the bike setup and with the lack of grip I was struggling to get the bike working the way I needed it to. We know exactly why though. The conditions have been tricky and there’s been some dust clouds, which makes it hard to know where the grip is. Overall I’m happy enough and we can fight from here and it should be an interesting race tomorrow.