14 October 2022 – Phillip Island – Australia
The first day on the Phillip Island Circuit started in rather difficult conditions. In fact, a wet track and a rather strong wind welcomed the small Moto3. Even the temperature of the asphalt did not encourage the drivers to push immediately. But the main problem in this first day was represented by the copious rains of the previous two days, which washed the track, removing the rubber coating and making it in fact much slower.
Ayumu waited before entering the track in FP1, while John with fifteen minutes to go ran into a high-side in Turn 11, after which he was quite sore in the shoulder and elbow. Ninth and twenty-second are the positions respectively of Ayumu and John after the first forty minutes of practice.
Before the start of free practice 2 a very light rain fell, which fortunately did not continue throughout the round. The track remained wet only in the first minutes and both Ayumu and John preferred to wait in the pits for the track to dry. They entered at fifteen minutes from the end, and both began to score quite fast times. Lap after lap, they improved their performance and in particular Ayumu, in his last useful lap, managed to get the best time this Friday. 1’37.797 is his best lap. John completed seven laps, getting the time of 1’38.760, with a gap from his teammate of 0.963 s.
Here are the words of our two drivers and our team Owner Max Biaggi.
AYUMU SASAKI : “I am happy with day one. It was held in tricky conditions, because un the beginning of FP2 it was raining a little bit, but then the track dried out in the last 30 minutes, so I went out. The track was almost fully dry, it just had a little bit less grip because it was raining before. I had a good feeling on the bike and and riding in this track again after three years feels amazing. It is a fast track and everytime very enjoyable. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow, but hopefully, whatever the weather, us going to be, i think we will be in Q2.”
JOHN MCPHEE : “The conditions today were a little bit tricky, especially in FP1. In fact there was mainly a dry track but mainly four or five points where the water crossed the track. So it made it difficult and, unfortunately I got call out in the FP1 session with a high side. I hurt a little bit my shoulder and elbow, so in FP2, at the beginning of the session, we decided to stay in the box. We went out in the end, and I managed to find a bit of a rhythm, which is nice to have in day one. We are 11th, not so far off the front, but definitely some work to do. I am not feeling overly comfortable at the moment on the bike, but I know this track well. And I have been very very strong here in the past, so I am sure that if we come a little bit closer with the overall setting, I can be very fast.”
MAX BIAGGI – TEAM OWNER : “Unfortunately Giò di Pillo, a great professional, a great friend, passed away! His comments in SBK are epic. Giovanni managed to bring on TV a new way of commenting on motorcycles, with an enthusiasm that testified all his passion. A person full of vitality, who accompanied me throughout my career in SBK. May my embrace give comfort to Cristina and all her family.
Returning to what happened on the track, I must say that we started off on the right foot here in Australia. Ayumu has accustomed us to these performances, now from several races, but it was also important not to make mistakes, given the difficult track conditions. John slipped in FP1, reporting various bruises. It was a good thing that in free practice 2 he improved, managing to enter the top 14. Tomorrow the weather is uncertain, so it will be essential to stay focused.”
Results Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2022 – Combined FP1 – FP2
1. Ayumu SASAKI (Husqvarna) 1’37.797, 11. John MCPHEE (Husqvarna) 1’38.760.