John McPhee storms to sixth place in German Grand Prix at Sachsenring
‘I’ve got to be happy with that result. It’s been a good weekend and a big step forward’
CONNEL’S John McPhee produced an excellent display to score a season-best finish of sixth place in round nine of the Moto3 World Championship at a soaking wet Sachsenring in Germany.
Having already produced his best qualifying performance of the year the previous day to start from eighth place on the grid, McPhee, equipped with a new gearbox produced by British manufacturer Nova Racing Transmissions, made an excellent getaway.
The Racing Steps Foundation-backed rider moved into the top four places at the first turn and went as far as taking a brief lead on the fourth tour.
Honda Team Asia rider Khairul Idham Pawi, who won the early season wet race in Argentina, had made a similarly storming start from 20th place on the grid, and soon took the lead from McPhee before making a charge away from the pack.
With Pawi and his team-mate, Japanese Hiroki Ono, pulling away, McPhee was forced to make a brief defence from the Leopard Racing/ KTM of Andrea Locatelli and with Ono later out of the race, McPhee lost third place to pole sitter Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing/ Honda) on lap 13.
With McPhee and Bastianini tussling, the pair were being caught by Czech rider Jakob Kornfeil, the Drive M7 SIC/ Honda rider demoting both soon after.
It was at this point that McPhee deliberately slowed his charge, with six laps remaining due to the weather conditions, slipping further behind Bastianini’s team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio and the Estrella Galicia 0,0/ Honda of Jorge Navarro.
But in the final two laps, McPhee, having judged the conditions to be improving, made a second attack, making his way back up to fifth place on the penultimate lap, before losing out to Di Giannantonio in the final couple of corners.
Pawi scored another impressive wet weather victory, taking the flag 11 seconds clear of Locatelli with Bastianini third.
‘I felt very confident and comfortable at the start of the race,’ McPhee said. ‘The first few laps were the worst, and could catch you out, but I wasn’t sure of where the limit was in the middle stages. I almost lost the bike a number of times so took it down a notch.
‘I needed to move my body position to get the rear working better and things moved in the right direction.
‘I realised that I had to up my pace in the final laps. I’ve got to be happy with that result. It’s been a good weekend and a big step forward. We can now go into the summer break and look forward to the second half of the season with much more confidence.’
John McPhee, number 17, in action during a very wet German Grand Prix at Sachsenring.
John listens intently to some instructions.