2022 Sepang Moto3 Race Result: Quite The Comeback

Despite the extensive cloud cover, the weather behaved ahead of the lightweight class race, and after a long wait, the local crowds got to enjoy the usually chaotic Moto3 show once more. As if to prove just how disorderly it can get, the victory was settled in a brawl at the final corner and went the way of the man who started 22nd on the grid – John McPhee putting in one of his very best performances to fight through the field and take a first victory since 2020. Teammate Ayumu Sasaki kept him company on the podium from its second step, both him and Sergio Garcia securing their ninth podiums of the season.

The start of the 17-lap race told a different tale, with world champion Izan Guevara swiftly picking up the lead from poleman Dennis Foggia, the two trading places early on, closely followed by Garcia. The attacks were only just getting started at the front, with Jaume Masia, Diogo Moreira and a fast-starting David Muñoz joining the exchanges, but Foggia managed to complete the opening lap still at the front of proceedings. The likes of Tatsuki Suzuki and Stefano Nepa had also impressed at the start, making their way into the top five early on, but the Italian’s race soon ended at turn nine, the incident creating a slight gap between the leaders and the chasing pack. However, Dani Holgado was quick to reel them back in by lap four, bringing a small group including Ivan Ortolá, Sasaki and Guevara back into contention. McPhee had quickly made up ground from his lowly grid position and was part of the next group down the road, one second behind the world champion on lap four. That particular group also included Suzuki, but not for long, the Japanese rider crashing out of the top 10 by the end of that lap. A similar incident at turn nine also took Muñoz out of contention, reducing the leading group further.

Back amongst the leaders, Masia picked up the lead by lap six, with Moreira, Foggia, Garcia, Holgado and Sasaki queuing behind and with Ortolá and Guevara still pushing to keep up with the leaders, making it an eight-man podium battle by lap seven. The shenanigans continued at the front, the lead changing hands several times a lap, aided by the many slipstreaming opportunities, but the early headliners were mainly Moreira, Foggia, Garcia and Masia, the rest of the group biding their time for an attack at the podium. It wasn’t until the halfway point of proceedings that Guevara made his way back into the lead and, by then, the lead group grew to ten, Riccardo Rossi and McPhee joining them at the back of the pack.

Over the next few laps, Foggia and Guevara traded top spot, the Italian eager to disrupt the world champion’s rhythm, while Sasaki kept Garcia busy just behind. Masia and Moreira tagged along more quietly at this stage, while the rest of the group yoyo-ed in and out of contention. The GASGAS duo was back in control of proceedings with six laps remaining, but Foggia and Sasaki were keen to catch up to avoid an escape and their attacks on Garcia allowed Guevara some more time in the limelight. The leading group reduced slightly just as the race entered its final five laps, when Rossi crashed out of sixth position.

That seemed to unleash a frenzy at the front too, Sasaki attacking Guevara at the final corner but seemingly missing a gear and sending both of them for a ride through the wet grass. Both riders were able to rejoin but Sasaki was luckier than Guevara, who slid down the order, losing touch with the leaders and dropping out of the top 10. Sasaki lost prime position as well, Garcia taking the opportunity to lead the field over the line for the remaining three laps. Although his advantage was never more than a three tenths of a second, the squabble for second allowed Garcia a bit of breathing room until the final lap, when Foggia finally made his move at turn eight but ran wide soon after and invited attacks at turn 12. There were many takers, with McPhee making his first real bid at the podium by attacking at turn 14 and becoming the eventual winner of the six-wide final corner battle. Teammate Sasaki crossed the finish line four hundredths of a second behind, with Garcia taking the final podium position. Masia missed out by less than a tenth of a second, with Moreira also sneaking ahead of Foggia, who lost significant ground in the last handful of corners. Holgado took the chequered flag over five seconds later, with Yamanaka, Ortolá and Deniz Öncü rounding out the top 10 positions.

World champion Guevara ended up a lowly 12th after the impressive start, while Garcia moves 8 points clear of Foggia in the fight for second in the championship, with Sasaki another six points behind the Italian.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 17 John McPhee Husqvarna 38:04.5890
2 71 Ayumu Sasaki Husqvarna 0.048
3 11 Sergio Garcia GasGas 0.146
4 5 Jaume Masia KTM 0.245
5 10 Diogo Moreira KTM 0.319
6 7 Dennis Foggia Honda 0.371
7 96 Daniel Holgado KTM 5.817
8 6 Ryusei Yamanaka KTM 6.034
9 48 Ivan Ortola KTM 6.230
10 53 Deniz Öncü KTM 6.732
11 43 Xavier Artigas CFMoto 6.789
12 28 Izan Guevara GasGas 9.148
13 23 Elia Bartolini KTM 13.416
14 16 Andrea Migno Honda 13.682
15 31 Adrian Fernandez KTM 14.659
16 63 Syarifuddin Azman Honda 14.812
17 27 Kaito Toba KTM 14.990
18 66 Joel Kelso KTM 20.530
19 20 Lorenzo Fellon Honda 28.240
20 9 Nicola Carraro KTM 28.285
21 64 Mario Suryo Aji Honda 43.055
22 22 Ana Carrasco KTM 43.250
23 70 Joshua Whatley Honda 54.110
Not Classified
  72 Taiyo Furusato Honda 33:48.2670
  99 Carlos Tatay CFMoto 27:20.6010
  54 Riccardo Rossi Honda 26:55.0270
  67 Alberto Surra Honda 18:16.6360
  24 Tatsuki Suzuki Honda 10:06.4220
  44 David Muñoz KTM 06:49.0810
  19 Scott Ogden Honda 02:26.1990
  82 Stefano Nepa KTM 02:22.0430
Round Number: 
19
2022
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Comments

Looking at that result, Honda really needs to up their game / attract some top riders.

Who will be their topgun next year as Foggia moves up to Moto2 ?

... what'll happen to McPhee? Not eligible for Moto 3 next year, no offers so far. Picked a good time for a fantastic race.

It would be nice to know what has gone on in his garage this year as the commentators on BBC Sport have hinted that he's had a tough time.

We know things like brake problems at Aragon and in Sepang but what else has been happening?

It’s been a number of years now things haven’t worked out for John.
And that’s putting things mildly.

In my opinion, looking from the outside, he’s had enough time and chances. Should’ve moved up to Moto2 years ago. Now it’s time to move out of the way…