John McPhee delivers best qualifying result of the year with 5th in Australia
Qualifying at the Australian Grand Prix was the first session this weekend run on a dry track mainly. All riders and teams started with dry settings but as soon they hit the track they were forced to return to their garage due to a brief rain shower.
Therefore, Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT decided for two different strategies for the remaining session. Whilst Albert Arenas’ crew-chief Anton Gruschka opted to wait for a completely dried out track, his opposite Mark Keen and John McPhee returned soon after to action but the Peugeot Moto3 machine equipment with rain tyres.
The Scottish rider found himself in great shape with the bike and conditions and first he set a new benchmark at this time. As long his competitors were also with a rain setting out on track, McPhee’s lap time was good enough for a possible front row start.
But then, the sun came out drying the track and the wild Moto3 pack found track conditions at its best this weekend so far. As all others, McPhee made a brief visit to his box, changing to a dry setting and again he was a pace setter. However, with four minutes to go the session was stopped by red flags due to an incident at turn twelve.
As soon the session was continued McPhee headed out for a final time attack but whereas he did his lap times before all alone, this time there were a massive group out there, taking benefit from each other’s slipstream at the long main straight.
McPhee bettered his sector times during his fastest lap but missed narrowly a front row start or even pole-position for tomorrow Moto3™ Australian Grand Prix. Anyway, fifth spot on the grid marks the team best qualifying position so far this year.
Because of the massive difference in time with nine hours to Central Europe starting time for the 16th points haul in Moto3 category is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm local time which means 4:00am CET.
#17 John McPHEE, Grid position 5th – 1´38.661 (16/16):
“We can be happy to start from the second row, our best qualifying result so far this year. But it’s strange as I’m disappointed at the same time because I feel that a front row start was definitely possible today. Nevertheless, we did a great job and I must say thank you to my guys because they made the bike working really, really good. In wet conditions I knew that we can fight for pole-position and also in the dry, as qualifying was the first session under dry conditions, the bike felt that much good. So thanks to them for making that possible. At the end of qualifying I just felt that with a perfect lap we can start from the front row. But anyway, the race is tomorrow, we have a good starting position and I think we can do a good job.”
Source: Peugeot MC SAXOPRINT