Mark Webber opts to start from pit lane

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Mark Webber has elected to start the Chinese Grand Prix from the pit lane following his exclusion from qualifying yesterday.

The Red Bull driver stopped out on track during the second part of qualifying due to a fuel shortage, meaning that he could not provide the FIA with a sample. As Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton found out last season, this leads to disqualification from the session, and Webber was set to start P22 on the grid.

However, by starting from the pit lane, the team has been able to make changes to his car overnight (breaking parc ferme restrictions). This was particularly profitable for Vettel in Abu Dhabi last season when he charged from P24 to P3 in the race thanks to the change in setup. Webber will be hoping to replicate this in China, and he may still be able to score some points relying he perfects his strategy.

The move also means that Webber will not get caught up in any incidents off the line.

Red Bull have made changes to the rear wing and suspension, as well as fitting a new gearbox which would usually warrant a five place penalty.

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

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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.