Strong opening day at Misano for McPhee and Sasaki

2019-09-13 02:49
The PETRONAS Sprinta Racing Moto3 duo of John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki enjoyed a strong opening day of action for the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, ending Friday’s practice sessions at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in fourth and sixth respectively.

Able to set both fast lap times and a consistent pace en route to second in FP2 and fourth overall on combined times, McPhee is happy that he and his team have spent the day working in the right direction. Still hoping to make some progress with bike set-up tomorrow in the final practice session, he’s nonetheless confident that they can be quick in qualifying.

Team-mate Sasaki also enjoyed an impressive Friday outing, spending much of the second session top of the time sheets and ending the day sixth fastest overall. He’s aiming to continue his recent strong run of form tomorrow as he targets a front-row start for Sunday’s race with a clear head after confirming yesterday that he will depart the team for a new challenge in 2020.

Action continues tomorrow with practice at 0900 local time (1500 Malaysian time) and qualifying at 1235 local time (1835 Malaysian time). Sunday’s 23-lap race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli gets underway at 1100 local time (1700 Malaysian time).

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John McPhee
4th (1'43.052)

Ayumu Sasaki
6th (1'43.091)

“It’s been a good first day for me, even though track conditions proven to be quite tricky so far. The track is really slippery, but I’m feeling good despite that. It’s a track where you really benefit from having a slipstream, but I did my FP2 time alone and finished the session in second, which is a good sign for tomorrow. On Saturday, I’ve just got to improve my feeling with old tyres a little bit, because with the grip being low, we need to be prepared for all circumstances in the race.”

“I feel very good and I’ve been able to start the weekend with a clear mind and to focus on giving 100%. In both sessions I was really strong, leading FP2 for most of the day. The bike feels good, and I’m able to do lap times very similar to last year’s despite it feeling like we’ve got a lot less grip. Everyone looks to be very close and competitive, but we’re still missing a little bit and I think we can improve on it. If we can find some more rear grip, then I’m confident that we’ll be able to fight for pole position. It’s nice that John was fast as well, as it means we can compare our data - and it would be nice to be alongside him on the front row!

“I want to say thanks to the team for three good years in Moto3 as well, because it was difficult when I first started out but they stuck with me. They’ve always provided me with the best people, the other riders have taught me a lot, and I’ve still got seven races to give my all for the team and our partners. It would be nice to sign off my time here by being able to say thank you with a podium finish.”

“I’ve had a strong personal relationship for the last three years with Ayumu and we’ve grown very close, so it’s tough for me to see him leave. I still believe he’s a top rider with great potential, but after three years together, maybe now is the best time for us to go our separate ways. I’m sad that he’s leaving us but I’m happy he’s found a good team to join, and I wish him all the best and hope to see him back with us one day in the future!”
Moto3 Practice Results - Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
1 Albert Arenas 75 Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team 1'42.824
2 Niccolo Antonelli 23 SIC58 Squadra Corse

Source: SIC Racing Team

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