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MotoGP Aragon: Chaotic qualifying leaves McPhee on fourth row

A delayed schedule to allow for warmer conditions didn’t translate to smooth sailing for John McPhee at Aragon today as yellow flags and Moto3 traffic disrupted the Petronas Sprinta rider’s progress in both the final practice and qualifying sessions.

Despite FP3 starting an hour later than originally scheduled, the Motorland circuit still presented bitterly cold track temperatures for the lightweight class. McPhee circulated in the high-teens for the majority of the session before using the closing minutes, and best conditions, to set his flying lap. Unfortunately for the Scot, a late crash from Maximilian Kofler brought out the yellow flags and his time was deleted, returning his best to the previous effort, of 2’0.284, leaving him 18th and heading for Q1.

The afternoon brought more favourable track conditions but only marginally better luck as McPhee battled his way into the Q2 shootout. Attempting to avoid the Moto3 tactics of waiting for a tow, the 26-year-old repeatedly found himself drawn into the group and fighting with traffic as he searched for a lap-time but to no avail, eventually relying on his early banker of 1’58.550 to secure his tenth place qualification, at the head of the fourth row, for Sunday’s 19-lap contest.


“It was a chaotic qualifying, but tenth is okay for tomorrow’s race," said McPhee.

“I made one good lap at the beginning, as a banker lap, but then every lap I did at the end of the session was interrupted by other riders. It was difficult to get a clean lap, but thankfully the start of the fourth row isn’t so bad around this track. We know we can work from there and we’re ready for tomorrow.

“I think there are two or three guys who have a really good pace, but at Aragón even if you have a good pace someone following can benefit more. I think it will be a big group for the majority of the race, with maybe a small breakaway in the final laps. Hopefully, we can be in that breakaway.”

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