Photo credit: ProMotocross.com/Matt RIce

Ryan Dungey wins Budds Creek Motocross race for third straight year

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Although Ryan Dungey was unable to cut into Ken Roczen’s championship lead today, Dungey will leave Budds Creek with some momentum after racing his best moto of the season and securing his second overall win of the year in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

The Red Bull KTM duo of Dungey and Roczen was dominant all day, but it was Roczen who asserted control in the opening moto for the 450 Class. Trey Canard held the early lead in the race, but Roczen eventually worked his way around Dungey for second place and then set his sights on Canard. On the fifth lap of the race, Roczen turned up the speed as the two riders went downhill, then passed Canard on the outside of the next turn. Dungey also got around Canard a few laps later, and while he was able to close the gap on his teammate for the lead, Dungey couldn’t get within striking distance and would finish the moto in the runner-up spot behind Roczen.

Moto 2 featured an absolutely dominant effort though from Dungey, who grabbed the MotoSport.com Holeshot and led wire-to-wire for the moto victory. The great start left Dungey with a clear track ahead of him, and without anyone there to apply the pressure, he was able to comfortably ride his own race. Leading all 17 laps in the race, Dungey – who entered the day having led just nine laps total during the 2014 season – nearly tripled that number by the end of one moto. Roczen fended off a fierce challenge from Eli Tomac late in the moto to finish second behind Dungey.

Watch the recap of the second 450 Class moto:

“I just got that start, which was key, and I was just able to race my laps,” Dungey said, speaking to why he was able to dominate the moto. “The track’s really coming around – it was very tough [in the first moto].”

With Dungey and Roczen both earning a first-place and a second-place moto finish today, the two teammates ended up tied in the overall results, meaning that Roczen’s championship lead will remain fixed at 26 points. Dungey earned the overall win though by virtue of the tiebreaker – having the better result in Moto 2 – and has now won at Budds Creek three years in a row.

Dungey talks about his Budds Creek victory:

“We all have our [off] days,” Roczen said after the race. “I’m so happy to finish off the day and keep the points lead the same. That’s all I can ask for.”

With the championship race still tight, the series shifts to Spring Creek next week for the eighth round of the series, where Dungey will get to compete in Minnesota in front of his hometown fans.

Budds Creek Overall Results
1. Ryan Dungey (2-1)
2. Ken Roczen (1-2)
3. Eli Tomac (4-3)
4. Trey Canard (3-4)
5. Weston Peick (6-5)
6. Josh Grant (9-6)
7. Andrew Short (8-7)
8. Brett Metcalfe (7-11)
9. Phil Nicoletti (12-8)
10. Matt Goerke (11-10)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis

Hill expects Rosberg to be ‘more formidable’ in 2016

xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez  on November 1, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico.
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1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill believes that Nico Rosberg will be “more formidable” in 2016 following his back-to-back title defeats to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg took the title race down to the final race of the year in 2014 before losing to Hamilton, and proved to be the Briton’s closest rival again in 2015, albeit losing the championship with three rounds remaining.

Rosberg endured a five-month winless streak last season that led many to question his ability to battle with Hamilton for a championship, only for the German to answer by winning the final three races of the year.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Hill said that Rosberg showed his true strength with this trio of victories, signalling that he could put up a greater fight to Hamilton for the title in 2016.

“I think he is a little bit more formidable now,” Hill said. “I think after the Austin defeat, that day when he lost the championship and Lewis infamously tossed the cap and he tossed it straight back, there was a moment where Nico said ‘OK, I am not going to take this anymore’ and he did go ahead and win all the remaining races.

“He can go on ahead and become the other world champion’s son [Keke Rosberg won the F1 title in 1982] to become a world champion himself.

“He probably knows time is running out and when you get all those ingredients together you maybe get a little bit of a hardening of the determination. Maybe he will be more determined this year and harder to beat.”

MotoGP to introduce stewards’ panel for 2016 season

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - OCTOBER 25:  Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team leads Valentino Rossi of Italy and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP during the MotoGP race during the MotoGP Of Malaysia at Sepang Circuit on October 25, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
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The FIM has confirmed that a new, dedicated stewards’ panel will be created for the 2016 MotoGP season following the controversy between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez at the end of last year.

Rossi and Marquez became embroiled in a tense rivalry that saw them clash in Malaysia, with Rossi appearing to raise his leg and cause his adversary to fall from his bike.

Rossi was handed a penalty that dropped him to the back of the grid for the championship decider in Valencia, where Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo clinched a third world title.

The incident did little good of the reputation of the drivers involved nor MotoGP as a whole, prompting officials to create a new stewards’ panel for 2016 that will deal with similar affairs.

Previously, race direction has also dealt with stewarding matters, but these responsibilities will now be split for 2016.

“We want to let race direction focus on managing the races because there are a lot of responsibilities and delicate matters to do,” FIM president Vito Ippolito said.

“We want to let them be free to manage the race but not to involve them anymore with the task of penalizing riders. It needs more time and special dedication.

“On the other side we will have the panel of three stewards. It will be the current race director who is Mike Webb and two more stewards from the FIM.

“One of them possibily also a permanent steward as we think with this structure, with this panel of stewards completely dedicated to judge the behaviour of riders during the races and practice, we can achieve a very high level of decisions.”

Vandoorne was considered for Renault Formula 1 seat

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JANUARY 25:  Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren Honda drives during wet weather tyre testing at Circuit Paul Ricard on January 25, 2016 in Le Castellet, France.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Newly-appointed Renault Sport racing director Frederic Vasseur claims that the French manufacturer considered signing GP2 champion and McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne for its comeback season in Formula 1.

Renault will return to F1 this year with a works team for the first time since 2010, and unveiled its driver line-up of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer at an event in France on Wednesday.

Magnussen was drafted in to replace Pastor Maldonado after the Venezuelan driver’s financial backing fell through and negotiations with the team broke down.

Speaking to DH.be, Vasseur revealed that Vandoorne was considered for the seat before Renault ultimately signed Magnussen for 2016.

“We had to put a cross next to Stoffel. He is under contract with McLaren and the team did not want to part ways,” Vasseur said.

“So we needed someone who was available and our choice was therefore focused on Kevin.”

Vandoorne is set to race in the Japanese Super Formula series in 2016, having tested a car over the winter. Despite winning the 2015 GP2 title in record-breaking fashion, the Belgian is not yet able to make the step up to F1, but looks set to do so with McLaren when either Jenson Button or Fernando Alonso leave the team.

Buemi content with fightback to second in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 6:  In this handout image supplied by Formula E, Sebastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams Z.E.15 & Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing DSV-01, during the Buenos Aires Formula E race at Puerto Madero Street Circuit on February 6, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
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BUENOS AIRES – Sebastien Buemi felt content with his performance in Saturday’s Buenos Aires ePrix after bouncing back from a mistake in qualifying to finish second and extend his lead at the top of the Formula E drivers’ championship.

Buemi locked up during his 200kW lap in qualifying at Puerto Madero to resign himself to 18th position on the grid, handing his rivals an opportunity to overhaul him in the title race.

The Renault e.dams driver produced a spirited display to pick through the order during the race before coming into contention for the win late on after a safety car period.

Although Buemi could not overhaul DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird at the front of the pack, he remained happy with second place in light of his qualifying error.

“The mistake in qualifying was very annoying, because when you have such a good car and such a good team, you want to reward them with the best possible result,” Buemi told MotorSportsTalk.

“But in the end I did my best to come back. I think I did a good job. 18 points are better than zero so happy with that.”

Buemi is now targeting an error-free weekend at the next race in Mexico City as he looks to extend the four-point gap to Lucas di Grassi at the top of the standings.

“Clearly [the result] shows that we have a very strong car and we just need to make sure from now on we don’t miss any points,” Buemi said.

“Putrajaya, the team made a mistake, the car didn’t finish the race. But today obviously I made one [in qualifying] and I tried to work the car to catch it back.

“We’ve seen today that it’s easy to leave the weekend with zero points. I have only four points advantage in the championship, so I’m going to try to expand it as much as possible.”