Nico Rosberg believes that qualifying 4th for the Hungarian Grand Prix is a good result considering that Mercedes have been focusing on their race pace at the Hungaroring.
With temperatures expected to exceed 100ºF tomorrow in Hungary, Mercedes are expected to suffer from the same issues that saw Rosberg and Hamilton squander good qualifying results in Bahrain and Spain. However, Rosberg believes that the heat will in fact play into Mercedes’ hands on race day.
“Our speed was a bit of a surprise today as the car set-up work was focused on good race pace this weekend,” Rosberg said in a statement from Mercedes. “But it worked quite well in the hot temperatures. It’s great for the team to be starting from fourth and pole position. I hope we can have a good start even though I’m on the dirtier side of the grid.”
Rosberg also explained how a problem with the car prevented him from challenging for the front row on Saturday.
“Qualifying did not go perfectly for me at the end, it didn’t help that my brake balance adjuster got stuck, so I couldn’t change it around the lap. That cost me a little, but the pole wasn’t possible today. Now we look forward to tomorrow and I’m confident that we look better in the hot conditions than in the previous race.”
Rosberg’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, will start on pole position following a fine performance in qualifying today.
Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.
“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”
Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.
The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.
Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.
Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.
Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.
Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.
Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”