The cause of John McPhee’s four-race run of disappointing Grand Prix results was finally pinpointed and put to rights ahead of the Moto 3 finale at Valencia this morning – but the fix did nothing to improve his race CV.
The RSF-backed rider – whose inability to rack up a points-paying finish was tracked down to defective front forks – ended the season on the sidelines after dropping his bike in the wet on lap nine.
McPhee – relieved to discover the underlying reason for his lengthy barren run – had turned in a promising performance, climbing from 29th to 13th before hitting the deck in the wet with 15 laps to go.
The Scot had battled with handling issues on his KRP-built and engineered chassis since taking over from the injured Alexis Masbou at Caretta Technology at Aragon in September.
“It was good to have finally got to the bottom of the problem,” said McPhee. “But the race wasn’t entirely problem-free.
“Clearly we didn’t have enough time to find the right set up for the conditions. But on top of that I had a new throttle fitted for the race after my crash in qualifying and it had a totally different action to the one I’m used to.
“There was also a minor gearbox problem which was causing the bike to jump out of gear. But I don’t want to sound as if I’m making excuses. At the end of the day it was me who dropped the bike and I take the blame for that.
“Unfortunately I was a bit too eager to make progress in the conditions and was too far behind Niklas Ajo in front to get any sort of a clue as to what lay in wait for me.
“It’s just a shame it all came to an early and unsatisfactory end because I honestly felt I was in for a good result which would have been good for Caretta, the RSF and me after the disappointment of the last four rounds.”
Caretta team-mate Jack Miller, who McPhee had been chasing through the pack, also looked set for a good result only to deposit his bike in the gravel in the difficult conditions after riding as high as fifth.
Red Bull Ajo’s Danny Kent took the win after stealing the lead from his world champion team-mate Sandro Cortese with a bold last lap, last corner move. Air Asia SIC Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin rounded out the podium.
The three riders took the chequered flag just over a tenth of a second apart.
The win, Kent’s second of the season, promoted the Chippenham rider to fourth in the championship. The Brit moves up to Moto2 next season with the French Tech 3 squad where he will be joined by Racing Team Germany’s departing Moto3 rider Louis Rossi whose place will be filled by McPhee.
McPhee steps up to a full season of Grand Prix racing with the German squad in 2013 where he will be partnered by 2012 Caretta team-mate Miller.
Source: Racing Steps Foundation
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