McPhee Wins a Classic in Malaysia

mcphee and sasaki moto3 malaysian grand prix

John McPhee battled his way through the field from 22nd on the grid to take a well deserved win in his penultimate race in Moto3.

It was a difficult weekend for the Scotsman who admitted that after a disappointing result in qualifying, he felt like giving up there and then.

It’s been a brutal season for the 28-year-old who broke his back in a training session before round two in Indonesia, an injury that could have ended his career.

As the lights went out, polesitter Dennis Foggia got bogged down on the damp side of the track, allowing Izan Guevara to lead the field into turn one. The newly crowned champion was unable to break away and was engulfed by a swarm of riders before the end of the first lap.

On lap two Angeluss MTA rider Stefano Nepa suffered a nasty highside at turn nine. Fortunately everyone managed to avoid the Italian who was helped off the track by the marshals.

With the championship decided, all eyes were on the battle for second. Sergio Garcia bolstered his claim by battling with David Muñoz, Jaume Masia, Diogo Moreira and the aforementioned Foggia for the lead.

Muñoz crashed out on lap four, just behind him Tatsuki Suzuki also fell, but was able to continue. The fastest man on track was Max Racing’s Ayumu Sasaki, who was reeling in the lead group lap by lap.

It was scrappy at the front with several riders exchanging positions, allowing Sasaki to join the party. The Japanese rider made short work of his rivals and was soon behind Guevara at the front of the field.

The drama continued at the start of lap 13 as Riccardo Rossi fell at turn one. Further back Carlos Tatay pulled into the garage, ending his day early. Sasaki made his move for the lead at turn 15, sliding underneath Guevara but a poor exit from the corner caused the Spaniard to shunt the back of his bike. It was a scary moment, but fortunately both riders stayed upright.

The constant battling at the front allowed McPhee to latch onto the lead group and it wasn’t long before he was in a tussle with teammate Sasaki. With just a few laps remaining Garcia led from Masia, Foggia, Sasaki, McPhee and Moreira.

Taiyo Furusato crashed at the start of lap 16 as Foggia moved up to second, hot on Garcia’s tail. With just one lap remaining, victory was there for the taking.

Foggia took the lead at turn 10 but it only lasted for a matter of seconds before Masia muscled his way to the front. Moments later McPhee capitalised on the melee and snatched the top spot.

There were desperate lunges into the final corner, but the Scot held his nerve and the lead to take his fourth win in Moto3, in what is expected to be his penultimate Grand Prix. Sasaki was second to secure a 1-2 for Max Racing with Garcia in third.

The results mean Garcia retains second place in the standings with 241 points, Foggia stays in third with 233 and Sasaki is just behind in fourth with 227. Only one round remains in the 2022 season, the Grand Prix of Valencia in a fortnights’ time.

Feature Image: MotoGP

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