Petronas SRT’s John McPhee showcased his leading capabilities during the CatalanGP Moto3 race this morning before a highside at Barcelona’s turn two cut his potential short.
A good start from McPhee saw him maintain sixth position off the line, before moving into fourth by the end of the first lap. The Scot was able to progress into the race lead early on, holding the position for three laps before retaining his grip on podium contention when the leading group around him utilised the slipstream effect.
Back in front by lap nine, disaster struck on the following revolution as the number-17 attempted to create a gap to those behind him. A highside quickly dispatching him at the second corner with his Honda sliding back into the path of the oncoming group - Tatsuki Suzuki and Andrea Migno collected in the unfortunate aftermath.
“It’s a big shame to finish the race this way,” McPhee said from the Barcelona track.
“I need to apologise to the team because it was my mistake. I’m also sorry to the other riders that got caught up in my crash and I hope they’re okay.
“I felt so strong and the bike felt so good. When I was in the lead I was able to maintain my lap time and keep the pace going over the three laps. The plan was to try to maintain that rhythm and try to make a break.
“I had a couple of attempts, saw where I was losing time but then on the next go I had the highside. We need to take the positives - the fact that we were so strong all weekend and had the pace in the race. It’s a shame but it’s one of those things, we’ll keep working and look forward to Sachsenring” he concluded.
“That was another very difficult race to watch,” his team boss, Johan Stigefelt added.
“We knew that we had a very good pace today, especially with John as he was managing to get a gap when he was in the lead. That was our strategy today and that was why he pushed that bit harder, but unfortunately he crashed. John really wanted to break away, as he didn’t feel it was fast enough in the group. It’s a shame for him, we’re not blaming him because he was leading and just trying to pull away.”
The Moto3 chaos continued to the flag with multiple riders seeming to slow at the final corner of the penultimate lap, with no one wanting to lead down the final straight. The action created a swarm effect as the leading group of 15 riders bunched together, swallowing McPhee’s teammate Darryn Binder in the process.
“I’m actually not happy with how that race went and the antics at the end of it have annoyed me,” the South African explained after the event.
“I wanted to focus on my race, do it my way, but it wasn’t possible. On the last lap I wanted to get my head down and get through the pack. In the end I finished fifth and of course I’d take that over a DNF. It is what it is. I feel like I was the strongest rider today, but when you’ve got people sitting up on the racing line it’s hard to have a good race. I’m really looking forward to getting to Germany now, especially as we didn’t get a race there last year.