Vergne: Lack of consistency cost me Red Bull seat

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Jean-Éric Vergne believes that a lack of consistency has cost him a shot at the Red Bull seat for 2014 as the defending world champions turn their attention to his Toro Rosso teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.

Vergne has outscored Ricciardo so far this season, picking up thirteen points compared to the Australian’s eleven. Furthermore, Vergne has the best result of the two drivers during their eighteen months together as teammates in F1, with his sixth-place finish at the Canadian Grand Prix also being the team’s best result since Sebastian Vettel’s final race for Toro Rosso. However, a lack of consistency has, in Vergne’s eyes, been his downfall.

“Red Bull is the world champion team and it needs a driver who is going to score points at every race to win the title,” Vergne explained in an interview with L’Equipe. “If you look at the results this year, I’ve scored more points than Ricciardo, but he’s finished all the races, I haven’t.

“I have a label on my back. Even if it’s false, in the paddock Ricciardo is seen as consistent and I’m not.”

In 2013, Vergne has scored points on three occasions and retired four times, whereas Ricciardo has retired just twice. Despite the portrayed gulf between the two drivers in Vergne’s rejection, it is one of the closest inter-team battles on the grid. Vergne did concede that retiring from so many races fails to put him in a good light.

“The choice is complicated,” Vergne continued. “Horner isn’t the only one making the decision. Adrian Newey has a say, as does Dietrich Mateschitz and Helmut Marko.

“I understand the risks they take, hiring a young driver like Daniel or me. And seeing a driver who doesn’t finish half his races unsettles them.”

Red Bull are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks over their driver line-up for 2014.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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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.”