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#AustralianGP: Moto3™ Pile Up
Moto3™ rider John McPhee was in the front group at Phillip Island and battling for a podium when the Czech GP winner crashed out and collected a number of other riders down into Turn 10. After two surgeries – one to pin his injured hand and a second to remove the metalwork – the Scot is now preparing to fly home after having been kept in Australia for nearly two months, with a punctured lung from the crash rendering him unable to fly. motogp.com caught up with McPhee ahead of his return home to talk about the crash and recovery, as well as taking stock of the season and looking ahead to the next.
First – how are you doing?
John McPhee: “I feel fine. I had a second operation on Friday and that went well. Lung wise obviously that’s the reason why I’m still here but in day-to-day things I feel absolutely fine – just if I try doing any kind of training, I can feel that they’re not back to normal yet. But every day it seems to be improving. On a pain scale I have none. I’ve had two operations on my hand now, and I just need to get a check up when I get back to the UK.”
You’ve been in Australia now for almost two months – you must be excited to come back!
JM17: “It’s definitely not what I had planned but Melbourne has been nice, at least it’s a good place to be stuck! The first three of four weeks I was really lucky with some family and friends coming and people here looking after me. But the last week to ten days has seemed to really slog on. I’m excited to come back – I think it feels like such a long time because it wasn’t planned. Obviously when you leave for three weeks and you’re still here eight weeks later it feels a bit strange. But Melbourne’s a nice place. The first week after the accident I was in hospital, but then a few weeks after I’ve been able to get out and see the city.”
How would you rate your 2016, although it ended a little earlier than expected?
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JM17: “It’s been a difficult year. The bike was new to me and new to the team so we had a lot of learning to do. I think three or four races in we made a step forward and we weren’t in such a tricky position like we thought we were in Qatar. Then come the midway point…obviously the win in Brno was a good achievement, for Peugeot, for me and for the team – because that was something we didn’t think was going to be achievable this year. From then on everything seemed to click a bit better. In Phillip Island we were strong from the start, and I think we could have fought for the podium.”
How were those last few laps of Brno on the way to your first win?
JM17: “It’s a long time since I’ve led a race by that much and it was the first chance I had to win a Grand Prix. The first thing when you see the size of the lead you want to slow down and be cautious but in those conditions you can lose concentration. When I saw it was twelve seconds I tried to calm down but then when I had that big moment near the end I picked the pace back up for a couple of laps. It’s something I was dreaming of from a young age and to achieve it this year after some difficulties was really great.”
A race winner and on the road to full recovery – what’s next?
JM17: “One of the doctors told me it’s almost a blessing in disguise having been stuck here because it’s so easy to rush getting back into it. So for the next few weeks I’ll continue like I am. I need to get my base fitness up over Christmas and then I’m heading for Gerona in Spain in January to get back to training, with Chaz Davies. Next year it’s a new team, back with Honda. I’m looking to try and get more race wins and be at the front consistently. I think we’ve been in Grand Prix enough now to know how it all works and what we need to do. So my main focus is to step into next year and try and be at the front from the word go.”
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