Moto3: John McPhee fights back from lowly grid position to win last-lap thriller in Misano.
John McPhee has taken a sensational win in a thrilling Moto3 race at the Misano World Circuit, his first since Le Mans in 2019.
Affairs in the Moto3 race began in a hectic manner seeing a turn four incident involving Raul Fernandez for the Red Bull KTM AJO Team and Sergio Garcia. The incident occurred after the tricky and technical first three turns as Garcia attempted to pass the KTM rider into the tight right-hander, misjudging his attempt and tagging Fernandez as he then rebounded off into the path of an unfortunate Celestino Vietti who was caught in the crossfire.
The drama continued along the Rimini coast as championship leader, Albert Arenas crashed out of the race at the tricky turn three having come to blows with Marinelli Snipers rider, Tony Arbolino the corner before, turn two. This was the second mistake from the Spaniard after crashing out in the Andalucian Grand Prix.
Fellow Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider, Ayumu Sasaki came to blows with Max Racing Team’s Alonso Lopez into the turn six left-hander, halting his race on lap seven.
Meanwhile, South African, Darryn Binder, who is rumoured to be joining the PETRONAS Team in Moto3 next season, battled through from 26th on the grid to take the lead on lap ten, passing polesitter Ai Ogura.
Eventual race winner, John McPhee, who began the race from 17th, languished down in the back end of the lead pack around 13th before making a dash up to fifth with eight laps remaining.
As we reached half race distance, the CIP Moto3 team rider and race contender, Binder crashed out on the left-hand flick of turn five in a violent manner, dropping his rear tyre off the edge of the exit kerb, violently highsiding the South African.
While the race raged on, aggressiveness began to increase seeing poleman Ai Ogura and last-years victor Tatsuki Suzuki of the SIC58 Racing Team fight for the lead into the last five laps. Ai Ogura eventually droped down to the lower end of the top ten after running wide at turn eleven.
John McPhee began his ascension to the lead with three-to-go leading the race from Gresini Racing’s Gabriel Rodrigo, but as we began the last lap, Rodrigo took the lead at turn one with Suzuki and Ogura, following the Argentine through going into turn four.
As we approached the first back straight, slipstream battles began, seeing the Brit John McPhee dash to the outside heading into turn eight, swooping into the lead but having a slight bobble on the front end as he reached the apex, drifting out wide and opening the exit up for Ogura to attempt a move into the following double-apex right-hander of turns nine and ten.
The Brit held on; Suzuki launched up the inside at turn nine, freeing McPhee in the lead as we approached turn 11, Curvone.
Ogura repassed Suzuki in the slipstream, setting his eyes ahead on race leader, attempting a move into turn 13, but it was too little too late for the Japanese rider as he was unable to make a pass under McPhee. Ogura made a mistake on the exit of the hairpin, further releasing McPhee into the lead as we approached the final two corners.
John McPhee held on to win a sensational race from 17th on the grid, his first win in over a year, following on from Le Mans in 2019. Rounding out the podium was Ai Ogura in second, converting his pole into a podium finish, and Tatsuki Suzuki in third.
Action resumes in Moto3 in a weeks time, with Friday practice beginning in just five days! Albert Arenas will be looking to get over his fall and bounce-back, while Ai Ogura and John McPhee will be hoping to further reduce the points lead at the top of the championship after an off-day for the points leader.
Featured image: MotoGP.com