Czech Grand Prix winner John McPhee will line up on the 2017 Moto3 grid as part of a new Dorna-supported team that will see the Scotsman on a factory Honda machine as he looks to build upon the success of last season.
The news, coming as a reward not only for his Brno win but a strong second half of the season until injury at Phillip Island brought it to a premature halt, will finally give him the tools that he hopefully needs to take his riding to the next level and become a regular challenger for podium success in the lightweight class.
Rumoured to be in the planning stages by MotoGP bosses Dorna for some time, the team was originally planned to have backing from broadcaster BT Sport, but it’s believed by MCN that with the team looking for a long-term commitment to help develop British talent, that has now been put on hold as they negotiate their own future in the championship. Their original five-year deal is set to expire at the end of the 2018 season.
But with Alberto Puig, the man behind Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, running the squad, McPhee is confident that with or without the backing of the TV company he’s going into the year in the best position of his career.
“There are still some details that we don’t quite know, but we know it’s going to be a Dorna team run by Alberto Puig. There’s still no sign of BT, but maybe they’re going to come in at a later date. I’ll have a factory Honda though, which is the one box I was looking to tick off. I’ll have no personal expenses either, which is one thing less to worry about.
“It’ll be nice to be able to fly the flag a bit, and with Dorna involved budgets will be no problem. And having Alberto involved is nice too – he has a good reputation in the paddock and a great history with riders like Pedrosa and Stoner. He’s going to do the job properly. It’s a shame we couldn’t test before the end of the year, but we’ll get started in early February and hopefully get going soon enough.”
And while the exact details of the team structure have yet to be revealed by Dorna, McPhee says that the team sounds like it’s set to give an amazing opportunity not only to him but to a whole crop of young talent.
“I’ve been asking questions about the colours and what it’s going to be called, and for now it’ll be the British Talent Team. The plan in the future is to bring more riders through, on the same likes as the Asia Talent team but on a smaller scale. The plan is for one rider next year, but in the future to expand it to two.”