After W05 reveal, Hamilton crashes on first day of Jerez test

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A front wing failure on his brand-new Mercedes W05 has caused former World Champion Lewis Hamilton to crash in Formula One preseason testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain for the second year in a row.

Hamilton had completed 18 laps in the new car today when he suffered the failure and went hard into the tire barriers at Turn 1. However, the British driver managed to come out unscathed from the accident.

Last year at Jerez, Hamilton had run 15 circuits before suffering a brake failure on Merc’s W04 and crashing into the tires at Turn 6.

Today’s shunt was a rough debut for the team’s 2014 challenger, which indeed features a sloping front nose akin to that of Ferrari’s F14 T and has been pegged for big things by some observers as Formula One debuts new turbo V-6 engines and other technical rules.

The W05 had already hit the track prior to Jerez in a shakedown run at Silverstone with Nico Rosberg at the controls. The German driver is expected to test the car tomorrow.

Before getting started today in Jerez, optimism was naturally high among the Silver Arrows camp.

“We have a busy winter testing period ahead of us and a long season where both performance and reliability will be critically important,” said commercial chief Toto Wolff in a team statement.

“Lewis and Nico begin the season hungry for success and I am confident that our team will benefit thanks to the continuity of their work during the winter period. We have positive momentum after our second-place finish last season. Our clear target is to continue building up our team and we aim to deliver on every single race weekend in 2014.”

As for the man Wolff shares team leadership duties with, technical chief Paddy Lowe, he made sure to stress that a lot of work was still ahead for the team to get the W05 ready to contend at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.

“The new car is an elegant but aggressive design and, as is often the way, its beauty is much more than skin deep; the internal engineering of the car is extremely innovative and intelligent,” Lowe said.

“Our team can be justifiably proud of its work so far – but none of us are under any illusions about the amount we still have to do before the first race in six weeks’ time.”

Hamilton and Rosberg were also itching to put the car through its paces.

“It looks just fantastic, so aggressive but full of really nice details as well,” Hamilton said. “I am excited to find out how the new Power Unit feels to drive, to hear how it sounds from the cockpit and to compare the job we have done relative to the competition.”

Rosberg chimed in: “I am massively excited ahead of getting in the car properly, after our short shakedown at Silverstone last Friday. It’s been a really intense period and I am just so looking forward to driving the car.”

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.