Young Scottish rider John McPhee is to be drafted in as a full-time replacement for injured Frenchman Alexis Masbou, who broke a femur in a private test, in the Caretta Technology team. McPhee is to race under the flag of the Caretta Technology team, but will be contesting his existing KRP chassis. McPhee will be getting the full Grand Prix-spec Honda Moto3 engine, rather than the standard Honda unit he has raced so far.
McPhee has been quietly impressive in his three wildcard appearances in Moto3 so far, even scoring a point in his last race at Brno. Given the horsepower deficit the young Scot is giving away, scoring points in the highly competitive Moto3 class is a sign that there is more to come from McPhee. McPhee is one of the youngsters being backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, a private initiative aimed at supporting young British racing talent on both two wheels and four. McPhee's elevation into the Grand Prix paddock is one of the first signs that the RSF's long-term approach is starting to pay off.
Below is the official press release from Caretta Technology announcing McPhee's replacement of Masbou:
CARETTA TECHNOLOGY - McPhee new rider for team
Racing Steps Foundation Moto3 rider John McPhee is set to replace the injured Alexis Masbou for the remaining five rounds of the World Championship, starting at Aragon this coming weekend.
Caretta Technology rider Masbou, who is currently sixth in the Moto3 world standings, broke his femur in a private test at Vallelunga earlier this month and is out for an indefinite period.
McPhee, 18, from Oban, Argyll, will join the Turin-based Caretta squad at the Spanish circuit on Thursday to acquaint himself with team personnel and prepare for Friday's free practice sessions.
The Scot will compete on his KRP M3-01 chassis which has been re-liveried in Caretta Technology colours and is to be fitted with the Italian squad's Geo Technology Grand Prix spec Honda engine.
The Caretta ride will give McPhee additional Grand Prix experience at Motegi (Japan), Sepang (Malaysia) and Philip Island (Australia) - three circuits on which he has not previously competed. He will also race in the season finale at Valencia in November.
"It's fantastic to be given the opportunity," he said on hearing the news. "To get more experience at world level with a Grand Prix team like Caretta should give a boost to my prospects of getting a full-time World Championship ride in 2013.
"Naturally I have a lot of sympathy for Alexis and wish him all the best for a speedy recovery. He's clearly had a strong working relationship with the team to get the results he has, so hopefully I will be able to pick up where he left off.
Caretta Technology team boss Giorgio Bertelli said McPhee, who has seven Grand Prix wildcard rides under his belt, was "an ideal replacement".
"Alexis has done really good work for the team this year but John showed everyone at last month's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno that he has what it takes to be a strong competitor. So we are very comfortable with him as a stand in. We hope to achieve good things together."
McPhee, whose regular ride is with the RSF-backed KRP team in Spain's CEV Moto3 Series, will wrap up his hectic end-of-season schedule with a return visit to Valencia for the final round of the Spanish Championship.
The rider, who is currently fifth in the CEV rider standings, will also squeeze in the single round UEM (European Motorcycle Union) European Championship at Albacete (Spain) on 07 October.
McPhee heads to Aragon having already picked up three world championship wildcards so far this year including last month's Grand Prix at Brno where he delivered his strongest ride of the season.
The ride, which netted him his first Grand Prix point of the season, caught the eye of several teams in the paddock after he ran as high as third before getting shuffled down the order to 15th as the power advantage of the GP regulars began to tell.
RSF motorcycle racing co-ordinator Peter Ball who brokered the Caretta deal said the Aragon ride was well deserved. "John's riding has developed well this year and he's demonstrated that he has the potential to make it into MotoGP.
"We hope this deal with Caretta will give him the opportunity to show once again that he's got what it takes to make the step up."
Racing Steps Foundation Background
The Racing Steps Foundation is a private, not-for-profit fund that provides and finances competition and performance development programmes for an elite group of young British racing drivers and motorcycle racers.
The backing is provided for those with the skills and determination to climb to the top of the international motorsports ladder but who lack the funds and mentoring needed to pave the way.
It was set up in 2007 and in 2012 provides major support for: John McPhee (Oban, Scotland), Fraser Rogers (Chippenham, Wiltshire) and Wayne Ryan (New Romney, Kent) in Spanish, Italian, German and World Championship Moto3; James Calado (Abingdon, Oxfordshire) in GP2; Jack Harvey (Bassingham, Lincolnshire) in British F3 International; Oliver Rowland (Sheffield, Yorkshire) in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup; Jake Dennis (Nuneaton, Warwickshire) in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC; Ben Barnicoat (Chesterfield, Derbyshire), Ricky Collard (Eversley, Hampshire) and Sam Webster (Weymouth, Dorset) in UK and international KF2 karting.
John McPhee Race CV
Born Oban, Argyll, Scotland on 14 July 1994. Lives Oban, Scotland.
2012 CEV Moto3 Championship (six out of seven rounds): 5th /60pts (2 podiums). World Championship Moto3 Grand Prix Wildcards: Catalunya (19th), Silverstone (28th, crashed), Brno (15th).
2011 CEV 125GP Championship: 10th / 38pts. CIV 125GP Championship (two rounds only): 20th / 8pts. UEM European 125GP Championship: 14th / 2pts. World 125cc Championship: Wildcard entries: Catalunya, Silverstone and Valencia.
2010 British 125GP Championship: 5th (1 win, 4 podiums). U17s ACU Academy Cup: 2nd (3 wins, 7 podiums, 3 FLs).
2009 British 125GP Championship(eight rounds only, broken ankle): 36th. U17s ACU Academy Cup: 14th.
2008 Scottish, NE of England and Melville Formula 125 Championships: Triple Champion (42 races, 29 wins, 37 podiums).
2007 Scottish, NE of England and Melville Formula 125 Championships (15 races, 1 win, 7 podiums).
2006-1999 Oban Youth Motocross (50, 65 and 85cc categories): Eight-times Champion.