John McPhee has come away from his first full day of testing at Qatar’s Losail circuit pleased with a strong finish to the day, taking ninth overall and feeling positive with the pace at which he’s improving on the British Talent Team.
Finishing two of the day’s three sessions well up the time sheets despite a small crash in the second outing, he says that the progress has been great so far on the factory-supported Honda.
“It was nice to start off so strong in the first session. Coming from Jerez, we know it’s normally a good track to judge your base setting at, and we arrived here more or less happy, went out and topped the session for most of it and ended up third overall, which was a real solid start. The track was real dirty and there wasn’t much grip there though!
“In the last run, I tried doing a few runs with the tyres and that from the crash and had a couple of issues – I wasn’t feeling so comfortable. We tried a couple of things, but there was moisture coming in – you could feel it on the white lines, and it was really slippery. I had to try and redo my braking markers and tip in points. But a new set of tyres right at the end let me get into my rhythm and find my confidence, and ended up going up like 0.2 quicker every lap, so it was a good way to finish the test.”
And even the small crash wasn’t enough to dent his confidence, chalking it down to rider error and learning from the mistake.
“It was my call, but I left the bike as it was for the second session, because I didn’t expect the track to progress so much, but it got a lot better and as I started pushing harder I overloaded the front and crashed. It was completely my mistake, but these things happen, and thankfully the boys did a good job and I made it back out. I managed to put in a good time working through traffic, which is nice."