Ricciardo: No room for error in Japan

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Daniel Ricciardo has explained how the unforgiving nature of Suzuka Circuit means that there is no room for error at next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Ricciardo currently ranks third in the drivers’ championship after a sensational first season with Red Bull Racing. He has claimed three race wins and outshone illustrious teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2014, and still has a slim chance of winning the world championship if both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg hit trouble in the final five races of the year.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s race at Suzuka, Ricciardo made his love for the circuit clear, echoing Vettel’s sentiments from earlier this week.

“Suzuka is all good, but for me the first sector is just a delight,” the Australian explained. “It’s a dream. You have those fast changes of directions through the Esses, hard around the Dunlop Curve and then, arguably the best bit, turns eight and nine: Degner.

“Through eight you’re hanging on, it’s so narrow and there’s no room for error but you want to push as hard as you can. Then just as you straighten up the car, you’re on the brakes, throwing it into this cambered right-hander and hoping you’ve got it right because if you haven’t then it’s all over.

“Getting to do that 53 times in a row is a pretty good way to earn a living. What you maybe don’t see on TV is that it’s a real rollercoaster, dropping into valleys and climbing up again, so that you’re rarely on a level surface.”

Ricciardo has exceeded all expectations during his third season in Formula 1, flourishing at Red Bull after stepping up from Toro Rosso at the end of last season.

Although it will take a remarkable collapse from Mercedes for Ricciardo to become world champion, finishing third in the drivers’ standings will still be a commendable achievement for one of 2014’s breakout stars.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.