Kobayashi refusing to give up on Formula 1 dream

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Kamui Kobayashi is refusing to give up on racing in Formula 1 despite being left on the sidelines for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin after Caterham entered administration last week.

Following the sale of the operation back in July by Tony Fernandes, Caterham has faced a great deal of financial turmoil, with both the old and new owners claiming not to have received what they were due.

The team was taken over by administrators last week, who confirmed that it would not be racing in Austin or Brazil and that staff will not return to work until a new buyer is found.

Administrator Finbarr O’Connell confirmed yesterday that he has a number of parties interested in the team, but for the time being, drivers Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have been left on the sidelines.

In a post on his Facebook page, Kobayashi said that he felt it was his duty to return to Formula 1 in the near future.

“I am concentrating all my energy on keep racing in F1,” the post read. “I believe in F1. I want to make F1 more popular in Japan. Japan is a very important market for F1, also for Japanese automakers, if F1 and motorsport become more popular, it will bring so many possibilities.

“Also, it is my role to keep racing in F1 so every child in Japan still can dream about F1. If I want to live in easy, I could choose other way. And it is big challenge to find racing solutions without money. But I will not to give up easily to achieve my childhood dream.” [sic]

Both Kobayashi and Ericsson have made the journey to Austin despite not racing this weekend, with the latter conducting work for Swedish television.

According to some reports in the paddock, Ericsson is closing in on a seat with Sauber for the 2015 season for a possible second year in F1, thus displacing either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez.

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Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen’s two-man battle in Motocross provides surprises

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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The 2019 Motocross season is one-third in the books and the title battle may have already come down to a two-man contest, while the pair of contenders might just be a little surprising in their own way.

Strictly by the numbers, no one can count Eli Tomac’s early season charge of first- and second-place finishes shocking, but threepeating in Motocross is such an incredibly difficult feat that no one would have been surprised to see him struggle out of the gates either. And in fact, that is precisely what happened.

Tomac came out of the gates slow in Round 1 and was seventh by the end of Lap 1 of Moto 1 – hardly the auspicious start he hoped for. He rebounded only as far as fourth and that ultimately cost him a chance to win the overall. Tomac won Moto 2 to claim second overall.

In Round 2, Tomac found his rhythm and won both Motos and grabbed the red plate. For the moment, he had the momentum with three consecutive Moto wins.

Tomac stumbled again in Round 3 – this time finishing only fifth in Moto 1 and earning only 16 points to dig a deep hole that eventually surrendered the red plate to Ken Roczen.

It was at Thunder Valley in Round 3 that a pattern emerged. Tomac would not make it easy on himself early in the day, but was more than capable of winning the second Motos to overcome his deficit.

That Roczen has won this season is also not a surprise in itself. Many believed his ascent to the top step of the podium was way overdue.

That he has run so well, however, was not entirely expected at the start of the season. Since injuring both arms in a pair of accidents, Roczen came tantalizingly close to snapping his winless streak a dozen times. He won heat races during the Supercross season and finished second at Anaheim I, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle earlier this year.

He just couldn’t secure the overall win.

Roczen’s Moto 1 victory at Hangtown might have been the precursor to another disappointing weekend, but once Tomac got into the lead, Roczen zeroed in on the Kawasaki’s back tire and finished second in route to the overall victory.

Roczen lost the overall and the red plate to Tomac in Round 2 at Pala, but he stood on the podium in both Motos. Roczen podiumed twice again in Round 3 while taking that overall victory to regain the red plate in what has become a seesaw affair in the early part of the 2019 season.

Last week, Roczen looked more like Tomac with his desperate struggle in Moto 1 and sixth-place finish. That was the first (and so far only) time this season that he failed to stand on the podium.

Roczen’s Moto 2 win last week was just enough to put him second overall with barely enough points to force a tie at the top of the leaderboard with 176 points apiece.

Meanwhile, Tomac failed to win either Moto with a third in the first race and runner-up finish in the second.

The moral victory and advantage may shift to Roczen this week.

As they have swapped the victory in the first four rounds with Roczen winning the odd-numbered events, he sees this weekend’s Round 5 as an opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to next weekend’s race,” Roczen said in a team press release. “The track is sandy. It’s very similar—actually almost identical—to what I ride on a regular basis at home.”

Tomac and Roczen enter Round 5 with a 32-point advantage over two riders tied for third in the standings.

So far Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson have not been in the same league as the leaders, but it only takes one slip of the wheel to fall out of the points in in a race and allow these racers to close the gap.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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