Sixth place finish for McPhee in crash-strewn British Grand Prix
CONNEL’S John McPhee kept his head in what turned out to be a rain-lashed, crash-strewn, topsy-turvy Moto3 race at the British Grand Prix to finish sixth.
The Saxoprint-RTG rider - who started from 12th on the grid - got shuffled down the order to 18th on the chaotic opening lap but rose steadily up the order as some 16 riders came to grief in the atrocious conditions.
The race was barely underway when front-row starter Karel Hanika, followed by pole-man and race leader Jorge Navarro, both crashed out in quick succession.
The pair’s downfall promoted RBA Racing’s Isaac Vinales into the lead ahead of Leopard Racing’s championship leader Danny Kent and Drive M7 SIC’s Jakub Kornfeil, who had muscled his way up from 13th on the grid.
But the Spaniard’s time at the head of the pack lasted no more than two laps as he joined what was to become the steady stream of riders to hit the deck and slide out of contention.
That left Kent bossing the show with Kornfeil and Romano Fenati literally trailing in his wake while McPhee made his way up to ninth to lead a three-way fight for what eventually became fifth.
The battle - involving McPhee, RW Racing’s Livio Loi and MAPFRE Mahindra rider Juanfran Guevara - was joined just before mid- distance and lasted for half a dozen laps before Loi escaped as McPhee got sucked into a lengthy and time- consuming tussle with the Spaniard.
By the time he broke free, Loi was an un- catchable 4.6 seconds down the road in seventh which - with two laps to go - became fifth as Guevara’s team-mate Francesco Bagnaia, followed by Gresini’s Enea Bastiania joined the casualty list in the steadily worsening conditions.
By that time Kent was some 10 seconds clear of Kornfeil which allowed him the luxury of easing off to secure the win practically 8.5s ahead of the Czech.
Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli claimed the final podium place a further 4.7s behind. Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Fabio Quartararo and Loi rounded out the top five, with McPhee in sixth just two seconds in arrears of the Belgian.
John said: ‘It was a really tough race in those conditions. There was standing water everywhere but I knew if I kept a cool head and played a patient waiting game the result would come to me - and it did.’
Kent’s points haul stretches his championship lead over the ill-fated Bastianini in second to 70 points. Romano Fenati in third is a further 28 points adrift.
McPhee remains 11th on 70pts just two points outside a place in the top 10.
His team-mate Alexis Masbou, who finished 11th, is 14th in the standings on 46 points.
ACTION MAN: John McPhhe in action on the rain-soaked track at Silverstone