Round nine of 2022 MotoGP™ brought the world championship to the hot and slippery Circuit de Barcelona – Cataluyna where the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team were able to score 7th place.
The second trip to Spain in the 2022 MotoGP World Championship meant a hot and steamy ordeal around the challenging curves of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya; a 4.7km layout that mixes a combination of slow, fast and demanding corners all with slick asphalt. The site in northeast Spain has been a regular part of the MotoGP calendar for more than three decades and since the facility was first built in the early 1990s
While the track was a puzzle in terms of set-up and tyre choice for the best traction across the 21-lap race duration, the team were able to adapt quickly. John McPhee began only his fourth GP of the season after recovering from a back injury while David Salvador was drafted in once more as a replacement and took the FR 250 GP motorcycle left by Ayumu Sasaki as the Japanese star continues to recover from his practice crash last week in Italy that left him with a broken left collarbone.
On Saturday McPhee was only tenths of a second from the top of the time screens while Salvador – competing at a place he knows well from Junior GP and other national events – was also quick to take 3rd spot in FP3 and go straight into Q2. By the end of play Saturday afternoon they were 11th and 16th on the grid respectively.
The weather stayed consistent for Sunday: sunny with high temperatures. The Moto3 lead group was quickly formed by up to 20 riders as McPhee pushed to be part of the fray and Salvador was also making decent time. The Spaniard rode fantastically and entered the top five of the race until he was unseated by contact from another rider into Turn 10 on lap 13 and highsided out of action. Luckily he was unhurt. McPhee persisted and was engaged in a frantic fight in the midst of the top ten. He passed the chequered flag in 7th and just over three seconds from the winner, Izan Guevara.
The Grand Prix points have helped the Scot rise two places in the world championship standings: from 19th to 17th. Sasaki is 6th despite his absence and could consider a racing return before the summer break.
The Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland will bring MotoGP together again in two weeks time at the endless curving and distinctive Sachsenring circuit.
John McPhee: “I felt good on the bike, strong and my pace was decent. As soon as there was any clear track then I was particularly fast but I struggled a bit in the group and with the late braking points today. I didn’t show our true potential speed-wise. P7 was a solid result. It is not where we want to be but we were just three seconds from the victory and we’re getting closer. The good thing is that we know where we can improve and we’re going in the right direction.”
David Salvador: “This was a big step for me this weekend. I didn’t have the best starting position and it felt great to come through like I did. I passed riders in a calm way at the beginning because I was saving myself and the bike for the last stage of the race, which has been a weak point. Then, a rider crashed into me and that was it. I’m still pleased because it was a great experience to near the front. Thanks to the team again for giving me the chance to improve and make progress as a rider. Thanks to all the sponsors also for the backing.”
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 9
1. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 38:22.351, 2. David Muñoz (KTM) +1.975, 3. Tatsuzki Suzuki (Honda) +1.985, 7. John McPhee (Husqvarna) +3.341, DNF. David Salvador (Husqvarna)
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 150pts, 2. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 134, 3. Jaume Masia (KTM) 103. 6. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 75, 17. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 24