British Talent Team Honda rider John McPhee says he’s not phased by the possibility of a wet season-opening race under the floodlights in Qatar – and that the forecast conditions might even give him the perfect opportunity to start his season off perfectly.
Running stronger than last year in preseason thanks to the step from Peugeot machinery to a factory-supported Honda, he believes that despite being stronger in the dry than ever before, his potential in the rain is just as strong as it was last year when he took his maiden win at the Czech Grand Prix.
“The nice thing is that last year it rained and we were one of the fastest if not the fastest out there, and I won a race because of that - but in the dry we struggled a lot. But this year, if it rains I’ll still have that bonus and be able to win races – but in the dry we can be really strong as well.
“It should keep us more consistent, but it wouldn’t be all bad to have a wet one for the first round of the year, and to try and get some good points on the table. But either way we can be confident.”
The Scotsman has had a good start to the weekend so far, finishing yesterday’s sole session in tenth and pleased with his pace – but admitting that qualifying today will be reliant on track position and slipsteaming.
“Qualifying will be a gamble, because we can gain up to a second just on the start finish straight in the slipstream. A second can be pole position or 25th position, so it’s a really big gamble. But if we can be up there at the front four rows, it’ll be enough to do the job I need to do in the race. If we can be there or thereabouts I have the pace to pass people and be there or thereabouts in the race.”