Pastor Maldonado endured a disastrous weekend last time out in Australia, qualifying in 17th place before retiring from the race without bothering the points. Both he and teammate Valtteri Bottas cited the FW35 as being “problematic”, reasoning their poor showing, but Maldonado believes that Williams have found the solution.
“We think we see the problems and we have the solution. But we need to test it and we have different things to test on both cars. Then we will see if it is right or not.
“You never know if what you do will be the right thing for the car, but I’m pretty confident the team has done the right thing in the last three days.”
Maldonado, who won last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, compared the new car to the FW33 he drove during his debut season in 2011. Williams went on to have their worst year ever, scoring just five points between their two cars. Although the pace of Valtteri Bottas improved towards the end of the race in Australia, Maldonado did not save his words over Williams’ performance.
“What happened [in Australia] was the worst that can happen. Now for sure, with the analysis we’ve done, it’s clear where the problems are. Theoretically we have the solution but now we must do the tests very well and we have a good plan for the test. Hopefully it will be good.”
Maldonado will be hoping to finish for the first time in Malaysia, having retired in both the 2011 and 2012 races.
Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto