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MotoGP Portimao: McPhee expecting big steps at ‘incredible track'

The last Moto3 round of the 2020 season got off to a warm and sunny start at the Algarve International Circuit today with John McPhee ending the two extended 55-minute free practice sessions 12th overall.

Having never ridden at the track before today, McPhee was eager to get straight out in FP1 to start learning the Portuguese layout and was soon up to speed, posting a best lap of 1’49.666 to end the morning session ninth.

FP2 allowed the Petronas team to work through a detailed programme, gathering valuable data throughout the session before the Scot utilised the closing minutes to set his hot lap. With the afternoon times dramatically quicker than the morning, McPhee ended FP2 0.8s from Albert Arenas’ fastest, with a 1’48.811, to sit him 12th in the session and combined standings.


Reflecting on his first experience of Portimão, the Scot exclaimed: “What an incredible track. I’ve really enjoyed my first day of riding at Portimão. It’s my first time here so a lot to learn but we walked the track yesterday and I was just amazed by the whole layout.

“It looked really special and it certainly didn’t disappoint today in both sessions. It was really exciting, really fun and actually quite difficult to begin with. I felt like I managed to get up to speed quite quickly but then to try and go faster you really had to find the references and find your own markers but happy enough at the end of the second session.

“We started to chip away at the lap time and I’m really looking forward to analysing the data and putting a little bit of thought into it before getting back out there tomorrow.”

With positive feelings all round did the Scot have a favourite sector? “All of it to be honest. I think sector two and three are the most exciting but then that last corner is just incredible.

On a Moto3 bike you’re fifth gear, flat out by the time you get to the outside curb coming on to the straight and even on the small bikes it feels like you want to wheelie as you come over the crest to start onto the start/finish line and that’s something we don’t really experience in Moto3 anywhere so it’s nice. I

“t’s somewhere the riders are making a big difference, you have to move your body weight, you have to turn into the face of the, almost like ‘the jumps’ as we call it, as you’re going down the steep hills, it’s really interesting. It brings a lot of fun into it from a riders perspective having to move your body weight around.

“At the moment we’re in Q2, but I think everyone will go faster in FP3. I think we can expect to make quite a big step tomorrow as well. We’ll analyse the data we have and look at the areas in which we can improve, both with the bike and how I’m attacking the corners, to be ready for qualifying.”

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