John McPhee used his return visit to Spielberg as a test session in Friday’s Moto3 practice as he looks to improve his passing capabilities with his Petronas SRT Honda.
The afternoon practice lasted less then 30-minutes after hail and torrential rain cut FP2 short but the Scot completed the day ninth in the overall standings, and inside the provisional promotion zone for Saturday’s Q2, thanks to his early pace.
A strong start to Friday saw McPhee momentarily top the times in the morning session before remaining at the sharp end throughout FP1. Completing the first 40-minutes on track with a fastest time of 1’36.606.
The afternoon also allowed him to run at the top, sitting third and circulating just two-tenths down on his earlier best, before the rain arrived and the expected end of session shootout was thwarted.
“It’s been a fairly successful day and we actually tested quite a few things – that’s the beauty of having back-to-back races at the same circuit,” McPhee said from Austria on Friday evening.
“We used it as a bit of a test day and we were on the pace straightaway - ninth in FP1 and then third in FP2. We’ve been really consistent with our lap times, so I’m looking forward to just fine-tuning it tomorrow and hopefully it continues to be strong.
“I have speed with my bike, but then have struggled to pass people in the race, so we’ve been working to improve this and it seems quite successful so far. Although the track felt different today - it seemed dirty last week but was a lot better today - it was nice to ride and the rain didn’t seem to affect the grip levels too much. Last week with the hot temperatures we actually lost a little bit of grip so FP2 wasn't so much faster than FP1.
“In the start of the session today I felt really good, everyone was obviously on used tyres with the aim to go to the new tyre right at the end of the session so I imagine all the lap times we've seen there is from the soft used front from FP1.
"Overall it was good. The rain was kind of threatening for the last 10-minutes, especially at the top of the hill at turn three, and then finally it came down but we've tested a lot today with the bike - probably the most I've tested all season in one session - so it was positive and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”