Tenth place finish for John McPhee in Brno
CONNEL rider, John McPhee, finished 10th in an abridged, 12-lap Czech Republic Moto3 Grand Prix race in Brno.
And the points-paying finish moves him up to 11th in the rider standings.
The programmed 19-lap encounter was red-flagged almost as soon as it got underway following two multi-rider, opening lap incidents - the second of which required the attendance of the medical team.
Faced with what, to all intents and purposes, amounted to a follow-up sprint race, McPhee - along with several other riders - switched to the soft option rear tyre which looked like the right choice as the ambient and track temperatures rose. After a strong start, which catapulted the Scot up from 10th on the grid to fifth on the opening lap, he was quickly shuffled back to 11th to bring up the rear of the lead group. That became 10th with four laps to go after team-mate, Alexis Masbou, lost the front end and crashed while disputing eighth place with Leopard Racing’s championship leader, Danny Kent.
Ongetta-Rivacold’s pole-sitter, Niccolo Antonelli, claimed the win - the first of his Grand Prix career - just over a tenth of a second clear of Gresini rider and fellow Italian, Enea Bastianini who started 15th.
Ajo’s Brad Binder secured the final podium place a further two- tenths in arrears after losing the lead to Antonelli with two laps to go.
McPhee rounded out the top 10 some three seconds adrift of the winner after easing off over the final three laps.
Points-leader Kent - who led the race over the opening two laps - finished seventh.
Limit ‘Both me and Masbou were on the absolute limit,’ said McPhee. ‘Unfortunately, neither of us could keep up the pace to stay with the guys at the front of the pack.
‘Masbou showed how hard we were trying and paid the price. Then I had a similar scary moment at the same spot next time round and took the decision to ease off rather than come off.
‘It seems we were both quick into the corners, but were losing time on the exits. So we’ll have to study the data to see exactly what the problem was and how we can overcome it at the next round at Silverstone.
‘The good thing is we do appear to be making progress, which is encouraging.’
Despite finishing seventh, Kent continues to head the rider standings - but by a reduced margin of 45 points over Bastianini. McPhee lies 10 points outside the top 10 on 60.
John McPhee in action during the Czech Grand Prix in Brno