Strug­gling Scots­man mas­ters the wet con­di­tions to blitz Moto3 bat­tle of Brno

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN CZECH REPUB­LIC MOTGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

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

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