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'Year of reckoning' for McPhee as Binder joins the fight at Petronas

John McPhee’s is hopefully entering his final year competing in Moto3 and it began this morning as Petronas launched its 2021 assault with heightened expectations.

South African, Darryn Binder, was introduced as McPhee’s teammate for the coming season, with an impressive battle anticipated for the promising pair, but Petronas Team Principal, Razlan Razali, was pulling no punches in McPhee’s case as 2021 performance expectations run high.

“This is a year of reckoning for John. It’s critical for him to win the World Championship before moving up to Moto2. We also expect Darryn to provide a good challenge to John whilst mounting his own efforts in the championship fight.”


Describing the overall Petronas line-up as “the strongest it’s ever been”, Team Director, Johan Stigefelt is equally as confident of a favourable year in the lightweight class.

“In Moto3, we have two great riders as John and Darryn are both race winners in the category, with strong race-craft as well as both being mentally strong too. 2021 is a year where we have high expectations in the category. Darryn brings additional strength to the team and we expect both riders to push each other very strongly.

“Winning the team championship would be a good marker of success and we should have the potential to achieve this with the strong rider line-up we have, and I want one or both of our riders in the top three too. We have the team, the riders and the capacity to do this.”

Technical Director and McPhee’s Crew Chief, Mark Woodage, continued the theme exclaiming: “2021 should be an exciting year all-round for Petronas in Moto3. Personally, for John, we need to remain consistent, always in the top five in every race, fighting for podiums and race wins. I believe we have the package, the team, the crew, and the machinery to do that, and I don’t see why both riders can’t be podium contenders.”

Three wins and 14 podiums to his name so far, McPhee embarks on his third season with the Malaysian outfit knowing this is his last chance in the class and hungry for more.

“After strong performances last year in many races, I know I can go better. We’ve analysed lots of data from 2020, and I’m just really excited to see what’s possible, and I’m really looking forward to a great year.

“I believe our speed is absolutely there, and we showed that on many occasions last year, but sometimes the tactics on track could be slightly different to improve the results. We know what we need to do, and we look forward to improving this year.

“To be part of Petronas Sprinta Racing is just fantastic, and it really is like a dream come true for me. They’re such a professional group of people on and off the track. They’ve helped me achieve some great results with two wins and seven podiums, so I’m really looking forward to the year ahead, and to achieve more great results and having some great times together.”

Alongside the fight for world championship glory, the 27-year-old will also have an intense inter-team battle on his hands this season, in the form of 23-year-old Binder. Having secured his debut win at Barcelona last September, the South African is just as determined to put on a show for his new squad and Binder’s new Crew Chief, Thibaut Gravier is convinced he’s up to the task.


“Darryn is a strong racer who is impressive on the brakes and always able to make his way up to the front of the field during races. He made big steps last year by riding cleanly and more precisely. It will be his first season on a Honda Moto3 bike, but with his experience, I’m certain he will quickly adapt and get up to speed. He’s a very enthusiastic person, and we’re eager to work with him and develop his full potential.”

“I’m looking to have a really strong season in Moto3 in 2021” Binder confirmed. “I ended last year off on a good note and I’m looking to pick up where I left off by keeping the ball rolling and doing my best. I want to try and be on the podium as much as I can, and when I can’t be on the podium, I still want to be in the top five.

“I want to work more on my consistency. For starters, I want to make sure I finish every single race, avoid crashing, and I also like to work on my qualifying. I think if I can qualify better, then it’ll definitely help me in races, so I’ll be working on that one-lap speed for sure.

“It means a lot to me to be a part of Petronas. They’ve got a team in every category, and they’ve got such a great pathway to MotoGP. Also, I’ve always looked up to Rossi as an idol, and it’s pretty cool for us to be under the same roof. I’m really stoked to be with him.”

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