Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has heaped praise upon his Toro Rosso replacement Daniil Kvyat following the Russian’s impressive start to his Formula 1 career.
Ricciardo’s promotion to a seat at Red Bull allowed Kvyat to move up to Toro Rosso after his GP3 Series championship victory in 2013, and in his first twelve races, the rookie has certainly made an impact.
He may only rank 15th in the drivers’ championship with eight points, but his performances and attitude have won him the praise of many, including Ricciardo, who spoke about Kvyat in Belgium.
“I think he’s done a great job in the first six months in Formula 1,” the Australian said. “For a young kid he’s very mature. He’s a bit like me: very immature, but when he needs to be mature, he’s very mature. He’s quick but also intelligent.”
Ricciardo joked that Kvyat or 2015 teammate Max Verstappen could replace either himself or Sebastian Vettel in the future at Red Bull, saying: “Who knows, maybe one day one of them [Kvyat or Verstappen] will be alongside me if they don’t knock me off soon!”
Kvyat has not let the praise go to his head, though. In Belgium, he drove a mature race to come home in ninth place, and although he is trailing teammate Jean-Eric Vergne by three points in the standings, the Frenchman has struggled to outperform Kvyat in 2014 despite his greater experience.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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