John McPhee’s 2021 challenge opened with an intensely-close battle across the Moto3 sessions with just two-tenths separating the eighth-placed Scot from the leading time.
Started his first FP1 of the new season with a show of strength, McPhee repeatedly posted top-five times before briefly holding station in the top spot, before his quickest lap - a 2’06.208 - saw him end the session fifth.
Track conditions improved as the night wore on, allowing the Petronas rider to continue to work on his pace, with the help of teammate Darryn Binder. Reducing his best time by over a second and recording a 2’05.058 on his 11th of 14 laps, McPhee ended FP2 eighth overall heading into Saturday’s qualifiers.
“I’m happy with the progress made today” the Scot explained at the end of Friday. “The wind was completely different to the test, where we had a headwind down the straight. Now we’ve got a tailwind. It made things a little bit different but I felt really good on the bike.
“We’ve been working well, getting P5 in the first session and then P8 in the second, plus we were only two-tenths off the fastest lap of the day.
“I think it’s been a successful first couple of sessions and the bike is feeling good for the longer runs, which is a key point for the race with times being as tight as they are. I’m just looking forward to qualifying now.