Front row start for McPhee in Austria

2020-08-17 01:05
John McPhee will start tomorrow’s Moto3 race on the front row of the grid, after the Scot qualified third in today’s extremely tight Q2 session. It will be McPhee’s second front row start of the year and his sixth for PETRONAS Sprinta Racing. Team-mate Khairul Idham Pawi will line up 28th.

The Austrian circuit had a damp surface for Moto3’s third practice session this morning, which made McPhee’s strong lap yesterday very important and saw him straight through to Q2. It proved to be a very tight qualifying session, with John lapping just outside the top-ten throughout the first half of the 15 minutes. Heading back out with only minutes to spare, McPhee only had time for one flying lap before the chequered flag came out. It was all he needed as he set a 1min 36.306secs lap, only 0.029secs shy of the pole sitter, which will see John start from the front row of the grid.

Team-mate KIP was an unfortunate victim of the weather conditions, as the wet track prevented him from improving upon his time set in Friday’s practice sessions. As a result, the Malaysian rider headed into Q1. Still battling pain in hand, following his crash at Brno, the PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider gave his all in the first Moto3 qualifying session. Unfortunately the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg is a circuit that requires a lot of heavy braking and KIP was unable to progress to Q2. He will start tomorrow’s race from 28th, after setting a best lap time of 1min 38.094secs.

The Moto3 pair will head out on track tomorrow morning at 8.40am local time (2.40pm MYT) for their Warm Up session, before the 23-lap race gets underway at 11am local time (5pm MYT) – where McPhee will be hoping to repeat his podium result of last year.

John McPhee
3rd (1'36.306)

It was very tense in the last few minutes of qualifying! The first exit didn’t quite go to plan and I had half the field trying to follow me, which wasn’t ideal. To try and get some clear track to set my time in was difficult. When I finished my exit lap there was only time to do one flying lap. I did that lap more or less alone, there was a small group slightly further ahead and so I got a slipstream from Turn 1 to Turn 3, but the rest was alone. To do the time to be on the front row, basically on my own, shows we’ve got a really good pace ahead of tomorrow’s race. We seem to be in really good shape in both wet and dry conditions and I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.

Source: SIC Racing Team

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