Top pace for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing as Sasaki and McPhee take second and fourth

2019-08-11 16:10
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing pair of Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee are going into tomorrow’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring full of confidence, after taking second and fourth in qualifying, although a penalty from practice will shuffle Sasaki back to 12th on tomorrow’s grid.

Sasaki went into qualifying knowing that he needed to secure a strong time so that the 12-position penalty from Friday’s practice wasn’t too detrimental to tomorrow’s race. Delivering exactly what he promised, he was able to come home second-fastest - only 0.051 off pole position - meaning that he will now start the race from 12th after other riders were also penalised.

Looking completely in control all weekend despite still carrying a left knee and ankle injury from last weekend’s Czech Grand Prix, McPhee was able to set his time on his own in Q2. Showing his confidence by abandoning the pack despite the Spielberg circuit being famed for slipstreaming, his time was good enough to come home fourth, although his team-mate’s penalty will bump him up the starting order to third.

Tomorrow’s 23-lap Austrian Grand Prix will get underway at 1100 local time (1700 Malaysian time).

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John McPhee
4th (+0.230)

Ayumu Sasaki
2nd (+0.051)

“I’m really happy because we’ve been strong in practice and in qualifying. I’ve been able to do lap times with both soft and rear tyres, which is always a sign that we’re in a good position, and I was able to do the lap time alone as well. I knew it was possible for me to make a good job alone, and while everyone else was waiting on each other I went. We definitely lost a lot of lap time not getting a slipstream, but I showed that I’m strong enough to run with the leaders tomorrow. Ultimately, starting from the front row is a job well done and now we can focus on the race. I know I’ve got a good rhythm and I’ll try and keep that going at the front - but if a few of us could break away at the front I’d be happy about it.”

“My plan for today was to be in the top three and I knew that it would be possible to eventually start from the fourth row. It’s always difficult to set your time alone at this track, but I’ve worked on being able to do that all weekend. In FP2 yesterday I saw that everyone was waiting for each other so I went alone, but I got penalised trying to avoid them! The bike has been good all weekend, and I’m just looking forward to the race now. It’s a track with long straights and everything is possible, so I just have to look ahead and try to pick off the guys in front of me one at a time.”
Moto3 Qualifying Results - Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich
1 Romano Fenati 55 VNE Snipers 1'36.460
2 Ayumu Sasaki 17 PETRONAS Sprinta Racing 1'36.511
3 Jaume Masia 5 Bester Capital Dubai

Source: SIC Racing Team

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