Moto3: John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki sign with Sterilgarda Max Racing for 2022

Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee with their new team manager Peter Öttl
Ayumu Sasaki and John McPhee with their new team manager Peter Öttl

John McPhee will remain in the Moto3 class for one more season after signing for the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.

The Scot was left without a ride for 2022 following the planned withdrawal of the Petronas Sprinta Racing (Sepang Racing Team) squad at the end of his season. This announcement also shattered his dreams of an internal promotion to the Moto2 Petronas outfit, which will also cease to exist.

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Remarkably, 2022 will be McPhee’s 10th season in the lightweight class. Whatever the outcome of next year’s campaign is, McPhee will not be able to extend his stay into 2023 as he will have reached the Moto3 age limit of 28.

During his time in Moto3, McPhee has accumulated three victories and 15 podiums, and has raced on three different brands of motorcycle – Peugeot, Honda and KTM. A title challenge was expected this year however McPhee endured a tough start to the season and didn’t score any points until round five at Le Mans.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team and Husqvarna Motorcycles for 2022,” McPhee said. “The team has done incredibly well in their short time in the world championship and with the likes of Max himself and Peter Öttl [Team Manager] looking after me I feel like it’s a great opportunity to really get the best from myself. The FR 250 GP has been impressive this season so I’m excited to see what’s possible on board something new.”

McPhee will line-up alongside Ayumu Sasaki, who makes the switch from the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team. The Japanese rider made his Grand Prix debut in 2016, before becoming a full-time entrant with the SIC Racing Team.

Sasaki has recorded two podiums so far, both at Aragon. He finished second at Aragon 2 in the covid-hit 2020 season, before finishing third at this year’s event in Spain. As things stand, Sasaki is ninth in the championship with 96 points.

“I am really happy to announce that I will race with the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team next year,” Sasaki said. “I hope to be able to do well right from the start and exploit the full potential of this team, which in its third year in the world championship has already achieved important results. I want to thank all those who have made this agreement possible.”

Max Biaggi’s team use Husqvarna machinery, specifically the FR 250. Romano Fenati has led the team to victory on two occasions so far, at Misano last year and at this year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Fenati will move back into the Moto2 class with Team SpeedUp.

“This year we again managed to bring the Husqvarna Motorcycles brand to the top of the podium, which was a source of pride for the Max Racing Team working group,” Biaggi added. “Having ambitious goals is our nature and for the 2022 season, together with Husqvarna Motorcycles and Sterilgarda, we wanted to internationalise our project to reach new targets.

“The combination of John McPhee and Ayumu Sasaki represents experience combined with perspective; the hope is to work with both riders to have consistency of performance that allows them to enter the top positions of the Moto3 world championship.”