Petronas Moto3 rider John McPhee is hoping the ‘bad luck comes in threes’ mantra is done for the season after starting the PortugueseGP with a pitlane delay this afternoon.
The Scot’s visit to Portimao was always going to be a tough one after his pitlane start included a 10-second delay - thanks to bis tussle with Jeremy Alcoba during the DohaGP - and although he was able to maintain a good pace and rhythm in the first half of the race, he was ultimately unable to close the gap to the main field. Hindered further by a lack of grip in the final laps, the Sprinta Racing rider concluded his trip to the Algarve in 23rd, completing a disappointing hat trick of non-points-scoring races to start 2021.
“Today we had nothing to lose and everything to gain” McPhee explained after the race, “so we tried a few things throughout the weekend. In the end we gambled with the soft tyre, just to see if it could be of any benefit in catching the riders up. Unfortunately it wasn’t the right choice as we struggled a lot with the tyre towards the end of the race.
“My rhythm was good, my pace was consistent, and I was lapping in the 1’48’s alone for the first seven or eight laps, which was good. I was able to maintain my rhythm all race, but the size of the penalty made it too difficult to come back.
“I’m sorry to the team that we weren’t able to be fighting at the front today. We’ll take the experience and things we’ve learned from this weekend to Jerez, where hopefully we can start our season properly.”
“That was a tough race” added Johan Stigefelt, SRT director. “We knew it would be difficult with both Darryn and John starting from pitlane. They did what they could and tried to catch the riders in front, which Darryn did manage, but our pace was not good enough today. They both suffered from grip issues, which is something that we need to check because it would have a problem even if they had started at the front of the grid. We need to move forward now and take the data we’ve learned here with us to Jerez, which should be a good track for us.”