Rosberg fastest in first practice at Silverstone; Massa crashes (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Nico Rosberg has picked up in Silverstone where he left off in Austria by finishing the first practice session for the British Grand Prix as the fastest driver.

The world championship leader posted a fastest lap of 1:35.424 this morning, finishing some seven-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in a session disrupted by incidents.

Susie Wolff made history by becoming the first female driver to take part in a grand prix weekend session in 22 years, but her practice lasted just 20 minutes after an engine-related failure on the Williams car. Teammate Felipe Massa saw his session come to an end just a few minutes later when he crashed on the exit of Stowe.

The crash was severe enough to warrant a red flag, and although Massa walked away unharmed, Williams has a big job on its hands to get the car ready for FP2 this afternoon. All the while, the other drivers tried to keep to their normal plan despite the red flag costing them 15 minutes of track time.

Caterham also had a tough session as reserve driver Robin Frijns encountered a problem on his car, whilst Marcus Ericsson spun out at Stowe. Pastor Maldonado didn’t even post a time after his Lotus stopped at the end of the pit lane.

At the front, it was business as usual for Mercedes as Rosberg and Hamilton secured yet another one-two finish. Fernando Alonso finished a respectable third for Ferrari, whilst Daniel Ricciardo showed signs of improvement at Red Bull in fourth place.

You can see if Mercedes’ good form continues in FP2 later today, with the session being broadcast on NBCSN and Live Extra from 9am ET.

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

0 Comments

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.