Frustrated Perez looks ahead after missing out on Q3

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Sergio Perez was not happy after failing to crack Q3 in Saturday qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, forcing him to start 12th on the grid for Sunday’s main event.

“I really should have been in Q3 today – but I didn’t manage to find as much time as the others in Q2,” the McLaren driver said. “That was frustrating. The warm-up of my tires before my quick lap wasn’t ideal, and I struggled to really pull everything together on the lap.”

However, Perez isn’t giving up hope and believes that a points-paying finish can be in the cards considering that the tires will be, in his words, “difficult and unpredictable for everyone” on race day.

“It’s going to a tough race, and a lot will depend on the strategy,” said Perez. “I’ve got a great team behind me and I know they’ll do a fantastic job to give me the best possible strategy for the race tomorrow. We can definitely do a good job and score some good points.”

His boss, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, naturally backed him up, echoing Perez’s hope for points in Shanghai.

“We’ve seen before just what he can do, and this weekend has shown that it should be no major impediment to start outside the top 10,” Whitmarsh said. “He can definitely race strongly into the points.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

Hawkins Supercross
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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.