After securing his best result of the season in Sunday’s dramatic Moto3 outing, John McPhee pointed to the importance of a one-day test prior to the Grand Prix of Catalunya, where he had the opportunity to try “small, subtle changes” which improved performance.

The Scot came home fourth at Montmeló after battling among Enea Bastianini, Marco Bezzecchi, Gabriel Rodrigo and Tatsuki Suzuki for the podium places until the final lap. Ultimately, he would miss out on third by 0.087s.

Not that he was overly crestfallen. Instead, McPhee was pleased to build on a solid qualifying performance of seventh place – a weakness in his game he resolved to rectify after the Italian Grand Prix - having held his own among the leaders throughout.

“I need to say a big thanks to the team,” began the 23-year old. “The bike was really good in the race; I can’t fault it. We worked really well together this weekend. It’s nice to back it up with a result. It’s fair to say we’ve been struggling all year for one reason or another.

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“I feel I’ve always had good pace come the race, though. If I can say so myself, I feel that we’ve been deserving of a result. Qualifying has been the bad point and I’ve been having to come from really far back. Generally, my race rhythm is one of the stronger ones. We’ve always got that opportunity to be at the front, but with qualifying we’ve been struggling.

“To be able to pull the qualifying out of the bag – P7 isn’t perfect, but it’s more in the right direction – meant we were in there with a chance. I felt comfortable. I never felt too stressed. I was able to maintain my tyres, my lap times and everything went to plan.

“Obviously a podium would’ve been nicer. It always is. But we were so close and we need to be happy with P4 because it’s a massive step in the right direction.”

McPhee went on to reveal that a post-race test at Mugello had given the CIP KTM squad time to address some of the more subtle aspects of set-up after a preseason beset by bad weather and limited on-track action. 

“Believe it or not, Mugello was the first day of testing we’ve had this year with all of the correct team,” McPhee said. “My crew chief was unlucky. He was unwell through preseason. We never got to do any testing together during preseason.

“So I arrived in Qatar and we’ve been trying to learn as we go along. That’s why we always struggle at the beginning of the weekend and get stronger and stronger. At Mugello it was the first time that we’ve had an open session with no stress.

“We didn’t really improve geometry of the bike. We were just playing about with silly, things, like handlebar position, seat position – real small, subtle things that make me that bit more comfortable. It’s certainly helping.

“A little bit of me feeling better on the bike, and being able to take advantage of a new tyre for the one-off lap in qualifying. That’s what helped this weekend.”