Kimi Raikkonen is pleased with his performance in practice having finished quickest in FP2, underlining the pace of the Lotus E21 ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
“It was a pretty good day,” the Finnish driver said. “We tried changing a few things on the car and made progress with where we wanted to be at the end of the sessions. We had some running in the wet which you often get around here and the car feels fine.”
Raikkonen topped the second session ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa, and he also finished P2 in the first session, less than one-tenth behind Mark Webber. Regardless, the Lotus driver refused to make any predictions for qualifying.
“We ran pretty heavy today so I don’t know how we’ll be when everyone is light for qualifying, but I’m happy with where we are and expect we’ll be reasonable tomorrow.”
Teammate Romain Grosjean has set his sights on bettering his P10 finish in Australia, stating that he is happier with the new aerodynamic configuration of his E21.
“The new front wing does feel better than the one before so that helps. Kimi was running an updated aero package which looks to be an improvement so we know there’s more pace to come in that area.”
Grosjean also hopes that the hot and humid conditions in Malaysia will work in his favor this weekend.
“It was pretty hot out there – quite a contrast to Melbourne – but I felt comfortable and I’m looking forward to making some improvements tomorrow before we head into qualifying.”
Lotus will be keen on building upon Raikkonen’s impressive win in Australia, and if Grosjean can support his teammate throughout the season, the Enstone-based team could be in the running for the constructors’ championship come the end of the year.
Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider
Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.
“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.
“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”
Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”
Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.
Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.
The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.
Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.