Daniel Ricciardo said he did not gain an advantage by going off the track while passing Adrian Sutil during the Japanese Grand Prix.
Ricciardo took to the run-off on the outside of the high-speed 130R corner as he overtook the Force India driver on lap 26.
The stewards ruled Ricciardo had gained an advantage by leaving the circuit and handed him a drive-through penalty. But after the race Ricciardo said going off the track hadn’t helped him.
“I made a move on the outside of Sutil at the 130R and got past him,” he explained. “But after that, I ran wide onto the grass, which lost me a bit of time.”
“Sadly, the Stewards decided I had gained an advantage by going off the track and had to take a drive-through penalty, which of course ruined my race.”
Ricciardo was using a different strategy to his rivals having started the race on the hard tyres.
“I am disappointed not to have scored some points because I am convinced I was heading for the top ten,” he said, “which would have been an encouraging result, after struggling with the balance of the car on Saturday.”
“We started on the hard tyre and after I made a good start to move up two places, it was looking good as I passed Bottas on the track and moved up the order as those on the medium pitted ahead of me.”
But the penalty ended his hopes of a top ten finish. “I was ninth when I came in for the penalty and it dropped me down outside the points.”
Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto