Fernando Alonso denies contact with other F1 teams

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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has denied speaking to any other team about a seat for 2015 as speculation about his future continues to circulate around the F1 paddock.

The Spaniard joined Ferrari back in 2010 in a deal that was expected to see both the driver and team waltz to the championships. Instead, Alonso has finished as the runner-up on three occasions to Sebastian Vettel, and neither the driver nor the team has won a race in the last twelve months.

With McLaren switching to Honda power for 2015, a move back to Woking is thought to be an option for Alonso. However, he denied speaking to any teams yesterday, and instead made light of the situation.

“It’s the same question every year in July,” he said. “From 2003 I start, so eleven years.

“I didn’t talk with any team, and it’s not my priority. We have to score some good points this weekend and some good results this year.”

Alonso was rumored to be holding talks with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in Maranello last week about a new contract, but he explained that he was there to use the simulator and that contact with the senior management at Ferrari was nothing new.

“In Maranello, I’ve been for the simulator,” he said. “I talk with President and with Marco everyday, so it was no different last week.”

McLaren chief Ron Dennis has said that he would welcome Alonso back to the team despite a tumultuous year together back in 2007, that resulted in the Spaniard returning to Renault for 2008.

However, Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen has fared even worse in 2014, and currently sits P12 in the drivers’ standings with just 19 points to his name – some 66 less than Alonso. The Finn is also unconcerned about his future with the team, saying that the focus lies with improving the F14 T car.

“I’m sure we can fix them,” Raikkonen said. “How fast? I hope quickly but it depends on many things.

“I have a contract so I’m not worried about that for the future.”

Both drivers will be hoping for a good result at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. Click here for full details on NBC Sports’ broadcasting schedule for the biggest weekend of racing in 2014.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.