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’

The Oban Times - - Times Sport -

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.’

Photos: Bon­nie Lane

John McPhee, num­ber 17, in ac­tion dur­ing a very wet Ger­man Grand Prix at Sach­sen­ring.

John lis­tens in­tently to some in­struc­tions.

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