Ricciardo heading to Malaysia in good spirits

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Daniel Ricciardo is heading to next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix in good spirits despite the saga surrounding his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix rumbling on in the background of the race.

The Australian driver finished his home race in second place, but was eventually disqualified after the stewards found that Red Bull had exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow of 100kg/h on the #3 car.

The team protested its innocence and has since appealed, with a hearing set to take place on April 14 that will decide Ricciardo’s fate. However, the unflappable Aussie is still riding high heading to Malaysian next weekend.

“Despite the eventual outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance in the race and throughout the weekend,” Ricciardo explained.

“Obviously it would be nice to get the 18 points, but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling. I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia.”

One of the biggest challenges posed by the race in Kuala Lumpur is the heat and humidity, and Ricciardo explained in the team’s grand prix preview how it was something he and the other drivers have to prepare themeselves for.

“Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you,” he said. “It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races.

“If you’re not correctly prepared then the last 20 laps of a grand prix will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages.”

The weather at the Malaysian Grand Prix is often impossible to predict. The race is held in monsoon season, meaning that conditions usually range from extreme heat and humidity to heavy downpours – or even both across the course of a single race.

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.