John back on track in Portugal

Although he was able to maintain a good pace and rhythm in the first half of the race the local lad was unable to close the gap to the main field following a pitlane start.

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Moto3 rider John McPhee hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts to his season, crashing out in the first two rounds thanks to other riders’ mistakes, but the Oban racer stayed the course in Portugal on Sunday.

Despite qualifying in sixth position, John began the race in Portimao from the pitlane, having been given a 10 second delay for fighting with Jeremy Alcoba after he was taken out by the Spaniard’s bike in Qatar.

Despite maintaining a good pace and rhythm in the first half of the race, the pace of riders in the main field and a lack of grip in the final laps, meant John was unable to close the gap, bringing his Honda NSF250RW home in 23rd place.

Speaking after the race, John said: ‘We had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so we tried a few things. We gambled with the S tyre to see if it could be of any benefit in catching the riders up. Unfortunately it wasn’t the right choice as we struggled with the tyre towards the end of the race.

‘I maintained my rhythm all race, but the size of the penalty made it too difficult to come back.

‘I’m sorry to the team we weren’t able to be fighting at the front. We’ll take the experience and things we’ve learned from this weekend to Jerez, where hopefully we can start our season properly.’

Earlier last week John published a statement regarding the incident in the Doha GP. He said: ‘I let my emotions get the better of me in Qatar, having been taken down for the second week in succession as a consequence of another rider’s mistake.

‘I must apologise for my conduct – I didn’t react well to the incident. It is an adrenaline-fuelled sport, with obvious inherent danger. Having a competitor’s bike strike my head triggered an out-of-character response and I apologise to the fans, my team and our partners.’

John now has another short break before the Moto3 championship resumes with the Gran Premio de España from April 30 to May 2.