The fourteenth appointment for 2022 MotoGP™ rounded the flat curves of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli and John McPhee rode to the top ten in San Marino.
The Italian seaside resort of Misano Adriatico welcome MotoGP for the second date of the 2022 schedule on the mainland and for the 28th Grand Prix at the site. The event, officially titled ‘Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini’, saw fans flock to the flat, fast and familiar Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Misano holds good memories for the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team. The squad celebrated victory in 2020, which was the first Grand Prix win for Husqvarna Motorcycles in the Moto3 division. The crew were also leading a damp race in 2021.
Ayumu Sasaki arrived in San Marino on the wave of decent form thanks to triumphs in two of the previous three meetings. The Japanese, along with teammate John McPhee on the FR 250 GP motorcycles, were consistently around the top positions of the Free Practice sessions and were only unsettled by a light bout of rain on Saturday that created a mixed damp/dry track surface and made Q2 a tricky prospect. McPhee ended up with 8th place and a spot in the centre of the third row of the start grid while Sasaki had to accept the 17th best lap-time.
Moto3 opened a dry and sunny Sunday with a 23-lap distance. The lead group was quickly formed by eleven riders but Sasaki’s efforts were clipped almost immediately when he was hit entering Turn 4. The Japanese was thankfully unhurt but he was out of the running. The onus was left on McPhee. The Scot was mired in the thick of the second pack and secured 9th – for the second race in a row - and was just over 11 seconds away from the winner. He was in a melee with seven riders split by just one second at the flag.
Sasaki is still closely implicated in the battle for the championship top three. He holds 6th position and is just 31 points from Dennis Foggia. McPhee continues to make progress in the rankings and is 17th. In a fortnight’s time MotoGP will again get fast. The Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón will take the series back to Spain and to the swirling MotorLand Aragon circuit for round fifteen.
John McPhee: “A little underwhelmed by the result because it doesn’t represent all the hard work we are doing throughout the weekend. I’m still riding in a little bit of a different way to what I know and how I can ride. I can manage the race and we can be fast and on certain points of the track I am so strong. On other parts the guys can pass me too easily and this is what we need to improve. Anyway, we have very good speed, and I really want to thank all the guys in the team. We will achieve the results we deserve very soon.”
Ayumu Sasaki: “Very disappointing today. In Warm-up we were P1 and we had great pace but I was hit on the first lap. That was it. These things can happen in racing. There was nothing I could do. We just have to look ahead and we have six more GPs to go. It’s been up and down this season but we just have to accept today and look for better luck in Aragon.”
Results – 2022 Moto3 World Championship, Round 14
1. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 39:21.864, 2. Jaume Masia (KTM) +0.289, 3. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) +0.334, 9. John McPhee (Husqvarna) +11.383, DNF. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna)
Moto3 world championship standings
1. Izan Guevara (GASGAS) 193pts, 2. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS) 204, 3. Dennis Foggia (Honda) 169. 6. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 138, 17. John McPhee (Husqvarna) 47