Rosberg closes out Brazilian GP practice fastest

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Nico Rosberg has sent out a statement of intent ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix by completing a clean sweep in practice and topping the third and final session on Saturday morning.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:10.446 to edge out his Mercedes teammate and championship rival in the final classification by one-tenth of a second, continuing his form from Friday that saw him finish fastest in both FP1 and FP2.

Overnight rain had washed away much of the rubber that had been laid down during practice on Friday, meaning that grip levels were low once again. At the start of the session, a number of drivers enjoyed off-track excursions including Hamilton and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel as the first runs on the medium tire were completed.

Both Mercedes drivers opted to bide their time and focus on race runs on the prime compound, ranking towards the bottom of the timesheets as the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas set the pace.

Once Rosberg and Hamilton made the switch to the soft tire though, the usual status quo was restored as both drivers dipped below the record pole position time set by Rubens Barrichello at Interlagos ten years ago.

Massa and Bottas managed to keep up their good pace to finish third and fourth for Williams ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull. In what could be his penultimate F1 race, Jenson Button finished sixth ahead of the two Ferrari drivers, with Fernando Alonso having to bring his session to an early end due to a lack of power on his engine.

Once again though, it was Rosberg on top, suggesting that he will be the man to beat in qualifying later today. However, as he proved himself in Austin, just because you trail in practice means very little when it comes to qualifying, and if rain does fall, Hamilton will be gunning to deny his teammate back-to-back poles.

You can join us for qualifying live on CNBC at 11a ET today.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.