The Moto3 is always a dramatic race, but even though it was wet from start to finish, no one knew how it was going to unfold. After a sunny qualifying at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic, it rained heavily before and during the race; this threw everything wide open.
Binder looked like he was in contention of winning
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder led the race; he was followed by a group of riders who started from the front of the grid. But certain riders should never be underestimated in the wet. The likes of Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda team Asia), thrives in conditions such as what was seen at Brno and today was no different.
Pawi made his way through the pack, after starting in 29th. It was no long before he had made his way to the front of the pack. But another man that also did well in the wet, he is Scottish after all and most likely grew up racing in these conditions most of the time, was Peugeot MC Saxoprint Mahindra rider John McPhee.
McPhee thrived in the wet
Brad Binder, Pawi and McPhee stood out in the wet, it looked like the positions were decided and it was race over. But then Binder crashed out of the race! A few laps later so did Pawi and McPhee became the new race leader.
McPhee kept at a steady pace, he continued to push and pulled away until he had a 12 second lead. Struggling to read the messages from his crew on his dashboard and on the pit board he was reluctant to ease off as he thought his lead was smaller.
McPhee nearly threw it all away
At the same part of the track as conditions got worse, on several occasions, McPhee experienced a ‘moment’. One in particular stood out from the rest. As he accelerated out of the corner he was thrown up and out of the seat, his legs flew up in the air… but he recovered and was able to settle and continue and went on to win the race with almost a nine second lead.
McPhee the flying Scotsman
Having qualified in 11th on the grid, he won his first ever Moto3. It was a fantastic achievement for the 22 year old lad from Oban in Scotland. McPhee claimed that winning was “the best feeling in the world”, it has “been a dream” since he joined the Grand Prix and "even before”, he struggled to express how good he felt about it.
The night before the race when in the shower of his hotel room, McPhee described how he “could visualise” himself “on the podium” and although he felt it seemed weird he “had a good feeling about it today”.
McPhee admits to several near misses
Speaking about the ‘moment’ he experienced he revealed that he had one earlier on in the race. He was “fairly comfortable” as he chased Binder “about six laps into the race”, he was aware that “the rain was coming” however he “didn’t know where the conditions were at”.
He was content as he knew he and Binder were “pulling away from the guys behind” and he decided to “sit on Binder’s tail” and to see what he could do in the last laps. This is when he said he “had the exact moment at the exact same corner and everything”, as a result he decided to “let Binder go” as he “would rather settle for second”. But that is when he “seen him going down”.
The Scot embraced his opportunity
McPhee felt “sorry for him” as he thought the South African was “riding really well”, however he now felt that now was his chance and he aimed to keep his “rhythm” going.
The Scot said he “couldn’t see” his pit board and that “the bike was steaming up” and so he didn’t realise the figures “1” and “2” he could see was his crew telling him it was a 1.2 second lead. So, he “kept pushing” as he thought “in these conditions it’s the best thing to do” as he thinks he helps with “concentration”. He knew he was “lucky to get away with” the bigger out of the moments he experienced.
McPhee delighted with his first ever podium
McPhee said he was “absolutely delighted and really, really happy” with his win. He gave a “massive thanks” to all of the people around him, those working with him in the Moto3 and his family and friends who have helped him in the past. He said, “Step by step we’re coming closer to the front, but honestly I can’t explain, it’s the best feeling ever!”
Martin and Di Giannantonio complete the podium
Binder and Pawi crashing out meant that both Jorge Martin (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) earned a spot each on the podium. Not underestimating their achievements, the two young talents deserved their podiums. They fended off many riders and continued to battle on track up until the end of the race.
Unbelievable second for Martin
Martin finished second as the second highest placed Mahindra in the race. After the race the young Spaniard said that he “saw that someone was catching” him and Di Giannantonio, and it was confirmed to him when he received a message on his pit board. The man of little wards said he chose to “push” all that he could and felt that “second place is unbelievable”.
Di Giannantonio pushed for the podium
Italian rider Di Giannantonio admitted that “at the beginning” that he was “trying to catch the leaders” but that he found it “really difficult” as those at the front were “pushing very, very hard” and that he was already “very close to the limit”.
During “the middle of the race” he witnessed Binder crashing and then Pawi and decided to remain optimistic and “see what happens”. On the last lap he “tried to catch Jorge” and again “pushed (for) another time, really hard” and felt that “third place and the podium is really” good as result of his efforts, he felt “Perfect!”