Alonso: I’ve never felt better or more motivated

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Fernando Alonso claims that he has never felt better or more motivated ahead of a Formula 1 season as he prepares to begin his second spell with McLaren.

Earlier today, the British team revealed the new Honda-powered MP4-30 car that marks the start of an era at Woking as it looks to return to the front of the field after going over two years without a race win.

Alonso first raced for McLaren back in 2007, but left after just one year after a turbulent relationship with the team that many thought was irrevocable.

However, the Spaniard announced at the end of last season that he would be leaving Ferrari after five happy but ultimately unsuccessful years, making way for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

With the promise of Honda power and a strong teammate in Jenson Button, Alonso was announced as a McLaren driver in December as he looks to secure the third world title that he has been chasing since 2006.

“Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season,” Alonso said.

“I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.”

After an underwhelming first test run in Abu Dhabi last year, there have been some concerns about the new Honda engine, but Alonso is prepared for a steep learning curve with the new car and expects teething problems throughout pre-season testing.

“We’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership,” he said. “We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together.

“My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal.

“Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development.

“It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career. I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.