John McPhee feels he is well placed to take full advantage of the new British Talent Team structure now in place in the Moto3 world championship, and has set his sights on adding to his grand prix win tally in 2017.

Leading an initiative from MotoGP organisers Dorna, the 22-year old is the figurehead of an all-new squad, complete with the latest spec Honda NSF250Rs, full factory backing and a team of highly experienced technicians.

And first impressions of the bike have been good. McPhee took little time to get to grips with the Honda's all-round ability at a recent test in Jerez, matching his best time from the 2016 race weekend within a dozen laps.

"The Honda seems a lot easier to do the lap time alone," he said, speaking to at the launch of the British Talent Team in London on Tuesday.

"I've been focussing mainly on that in preseason testing: doing lots of laps alone. It's one of them that doesn't shine in any particular area. It's just strong all round.

"You've got good braking stability. You can roll into the corners with lots of speed, or you can park it if you have to. Then it's got the grunt to get out of the corners. It's just an all-round well-built package.

"I feel like I've clicked really well with it. It kind of suits my style. Both wheels like to be in line. You have to be smooth with it and carry lots of corner speed.

"That's what I've been working on when I've been training over the winter, so it's been a really promising first couple of tests. We can look forward toward some good races.

"Where we are at the minute, I think we're in a strong position. We should wait and see. A rider's expectation is always to win races and that's what mine is.

"I know realistically it's a long season. There are 18 races across the year. The main focus is to be in that frond group and always scoring points."

The Scot's belief in the project hails, in part, from the level of factory support provided by HRC. The sheer volume of technicians on hand, awaiting his feedback as he pulled into the garage after his first run out at Jerez took a little getting used to.

"When I came into the garage after the first outing I got a bit of an eye-opener," he revealed. "I think there were about ten HRC guys all stood around me, waiting for me to come in.

"I was still struggling to get my gloves off and they were asking me questions. It's nice and it's good to have that support."

McPhee found himself toward the top of the time sheets at a recent test in Jerez, ending the two days fifth overall, his fastest time just over half a second slower than pace setter Nicol? Bulega.

All of which serves as quite a contrast to this time a year ago, when mechanical issues, a lack of funding and a cloud of general uncertainty hung over his Peugeot Saxoprint team's future with alarming regularity at the beginning of a trying 2016.

Having already worked up close with the new set-up, which sees ex-500cc race winner Alberto Puig acting as team manager and ex-500cc podium man Jeremy McWilliams as rider coach, McPhee described having this opportunity as an "honour."

"You don't fully realise until you've got all the boxes ticked," he said. "We really do have everything ticked off this year. Everything seems to be running really smooth. The team's working almost like a family and we've got the funding, we've got the support.

"It makes a massive difference, not only to the rider, but to everyone in that group. I think at this precise moment things are looking really promising. For me it's just such a relief. Like I've said, it's an honour to have this opportunity.

"To have someone like Jeremy and Alberto there, they've both been there and done it. I think that's almost like another level again. They know exactly what you should and shouldn't be doing; what worked for them and what didn't work.

"So I've got two really good guys there to bounce ideas off and to ask what I should and shouldn't be doing. Already I've got experience. I know myself the dos and don'ts.

"To get these small details, if we're ever stuck, I know I've got both of them to work with. I think that will help massively throughout the year."

CLICK HERE to rear the full interview with John McPhee



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