Mercedes drivers on top in practice but lament lack of long-run data


Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both came away from Interlagos pleased with their day of practice running ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, but lamented the lack of long-run data following four red flag periods.

Dani Juncadella, Jean-Eric Vergne, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez all had incidents out on track during practice on Friday that warranted red flag periods, thus denying the field meaningful long runs.

With just one hour of practice left before qualifying and the race, it is likely that the teams will have to work with what little data they have on the newly-resurfaced circuit in Sao Paulo, but both Rosberg and Hamilton are expecting conditions to be slightly kinder over the rest of the weekend.

“That was a good day and we are very quick again at this circuit,” Rosberg said. “The track has a new surface which made it quite tricky. It’s smooth and not quite so bumpy as it has been in the past, but the tires were blistering because of the high temperatures and the new asphalt.

“That was a bit worrying, but we are expecting it to be a bit cooler over the weekend. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – it should be a great battle.”

Rosberg is looking to cut into Hamilton’s 24-point lead at the top of the standings in Brazil this weekend, and although he sent out a statement of intent by finishing as the quickest driver in both of Friday’s sessions, Hamilton said that he did not hook up a quick lap time in FP2.

“The car felt good today,” the Briton said. “There are a few improvements we can make but I just didn’t manage to put a lap together out there. That’s not a big issue, though. It’s just practice so that’s what we’re out there trying to do.

‘I’m not sure how many laps we’ll get out of the tires as there were quite a few red flags at the end so we didn’t get the best opportunity for long runs but that’s the same for everyone. It’s hard to tell where the tires are compared to 2013 with the different compounds as we didn’t have any dry running until the race last year.

“Otherwise the circuit felt good. It’s nice and smooth and the grip is good. It’s different every time we come here and you never know what the weather is going to do. But that’s what makes this such an exciting race.”

Supercross: Enzo Lopes will race with ClubMX in 2024

Lopes ClubMX 2024
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.

Enzo Lopes won his heat race in Denver and finished fourth in the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.

“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”

While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.

His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.

“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”

Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.

Lopes will join Jeremy Martin, Phil Nicoletti and Garrett Marchbanks, who announced a two-year extension with the team in January, at the ClubMX team.