The eighth round of twenty (the cancellation of the Finnish Grand Prix reducing the schedule and creating a summer break) was also the home event for the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team and there was a sense of expectation as they wheeled their machinery into the pitbox. The weather conditions started as sunny, hot and humid but was unstable for qualification and then much cloudier and fresher for race day.
Friday Free Practice proved to be costly for the team. Ayumu Sasaki fell and was struck by another rider. The Japanese, who has already appeared on the podium three times this season, was taken to hospital with collarbone and neck injuries. Sasaki is likely to miss the next two Grands Prix but the team will review his condition and carefully monitor his recovery.
The onus therefore fell on Scot John McPhee who used his experience and positive feeling with the FR 250 GP to remain in contention and was less than half a second from Pole Position after Q2.
On a weekend when Sterilgarda Max Racing Team Principal Max Biaggi was inducted in the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame for his outstanding career, his Moto3 race crew was able to play a prominent part of the first sprint of the GP. McPhee started from 6th on the grid and was circulating with the leaders until a mistake at mid-race caused him to crash out. The bike was too damaged to remount and continue.
McPhee stays 19th in the championship standings while Sasaki is 5th. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya now awaits for round nine as MotoGP moves straight to eastern Spain this week.
John McPhee: “Until race day I think we had a productive weekend. We showed that I’ve come back strongly from my injury and we were in the top ten every session. Unfortunately in the race I struggled to keep my position. It was difficult to make a pass and in the end I made a mistake and highsided. I’m really sorry to the team for this. The good point is that we showed we had the speed. This is only my third race this season and I just need a bit more time to adapt. We’ll keep the positives and look ahead to Barcelona.”
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 8
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 39:43.214,2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 39:43.193 (1 place penalty), 3. Tatsuzki Suzuki (Honda) +0.012, DNF. John McPhee (Husqvarna) +3.193, DNS. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna)
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 137pts, 2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 109, 3. Jaume Masia (KTM) 95. 5. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 75, 19. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 15