Strong start for McPhee

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John McPhee stormed through on the last lap to take fifth position at the flag after a difficult day for the Scottish rider. McPhee, teammate to race winner Alexis Masbou, was hamstrung throughout by a gearing miscalculation that left him a sitting duck on the 1km long front straight and unable to make an overtaking move on the straight throughout the race.

“Going into the race I felt quite comfortable but I didn’t pass a single guy on the straight,” said McPhee. “I don’t know if we made a mistake with the gearing but we struggled on the straight for all the race. It meant that I had to really concentrate on the corner exit and when I was trying to brake early and prepare for the exit I was just getting overtaken and being pushed down the order. I had to try and find a balance to brake late enough to defend but early enough to have good exits. That made it a really difficult race but finishing top five was great for the team with a win and a top five.”

McPhee, who completed only 20 laps on 2015 Honda before last weekend, started from fifth on the grid and his ability to race within the pack and get back to the front despite his lack of top speed will give him plenty of encouragement for the next race in Texas.

“As you know we had a very difficult start to the weekend because we had very minimal testing and we turned up and from day one we’ve been learning the bike and trying to get it setup correctly. We really struggled but as the weekend went on the bike started to feel like mine and to start on the second row at the first race of the year was a big positive.

“It’s better than I expected and I’m really happy. We can build from this because there’s a couple of circuits that I really like and I’ll try and continue the year as we’ve started it. It’s great to be almost matching my best finish but it makes you even more hungry to continue it.”

Steve English

By Steve English