MOTOGP GLORY: HOW HE DID IT
Struggling Scotsman masters the wet conditions to blitz Moto3 battle of Brno
Scottish rainmaster John Mcphee showed just what he’s capable of when given half a chance by winning in a challenging Moto3 race at Brno.
The 22-year-old looked strong from the start, calmly and deliberately picking his way through the field from a strong ninth on the grid to be in the perfect position when title leader Brad Binder fell in front of him.
And with the win coming after 76 Grand Prix starts, the emotion of the moment hit the Oban native hard after the race, as he admitted that it was something that he’d dreamed of but had recently convinced himself that it would never actually become reality.
“I’m still trying to let it sink in. It’s the best feeling of my life though – I’ve been dreaming of it for years, and I can’t really imagine being any happier! I knew I could win though. You have to aim for the win at every race – if you aim high, you score high. I had a feeling that I could win, because we had something there.
“I feel really bad for Brad [Binder], because he was riding well and if he hadn’t crashed he probably would have taken it. But once he went down I knew that it was on me to set the pace, and that’s when I started to focus on my pit board. I was trying to watch my rhythm, but I could see that it was good and that if I could keep it up I could win.”
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Mcphee, with a huge moment in the final stages of the final stages of the race (after he’d already pulled well clear of the chasing pack) giving him a timely reminder how easily and quickly it could all go wrong.
“I just had to keep calm after Brad crashed and not do anything silly, but the inside of my screen steamed up and all I could see of the gap on my board was the numbers one and two – I didn’t know if it was 12 seconds or 1.2 seconds!
“I kept pushing and pushing, until I had the big moment three laps from the end. I looked over my shoulder then, knowing that if it was 1.2 seconds I’d be able to see them. I started to realise then that I had a gap, had a proper look at my pit board, and knew I could win the race if I just stayed calm.”
But while the win might be the immediate reward for his weekend’s work, there’s something even more important for him to take from it – an improvement not only in the Peugeot-branded Mahindra machine but also in his own performance as a racer.
“We saw at Sachsenring when you’re on the edge of the corner for so long that the bike works well. The engine has made a big step forward too, but it’s just that Honda and KTM have it so perfect at the minute. It was a Mahindra one-two, so that shows how well the bike is working now.
“I like riding in the rain – I basically live in the rain, after all! – and that helps. But I’ve been in Grand Prix for four years now and we all get the same amount of time in the wet.
“I came into this year looking to win a load of races with the expec-
tation being high. For one reason or another, we got knocked down a bit, and I did think that a podium never mind a win was impossible. But now we’ve got seven races left to try and get back on the box again, and it’s a good way to go into Silverstone.”
‘I did think that a podium never mind a win was impossible’ JOHN MCPHEE
The heart-in-mouth moment three laps from the end when we thought the dream was over for Mcphee