Nico Rosberg was still able to bank more than 150 laps Tuesday in Jerez, the third day of Formula 1’s first preseason test of 2015, despite a brief engine shutdown on his Mercedes W06 around lunchtime.
This was Rosberg’s second day of the test thus far, with two-time and defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton set to take over for the fourth and final day on Wednesday.
The 151 laps completed focused primarily on long runs and pit stops. Rosberg said improving reliability was the goal, and doing more than 300 laps combined between Sunday and Tuesday was an unqualified success.
“Reliability was our main issue over the last year, so our goal for 2015 is to sort this out,” Rosberg said, via a team release. “That is why I can be happy with my first preseason test as I did a lot of mileage on both days.
“Performance-wise I don’t know where we are, but the Ferrari times look very encouraging for them, so it will be an interesting year for Formula 1, I guess.”
“However, I recently heard about the discussions concerning the German Grand Prix and it’s really sad for me and the German fans to hear that nothing is confirmed yet for 2015,” Rosberg said. “For as long as I can remember, the German Grand Prix was part of the Formula One World Championship, so I really hope our Grand Prix will be held this year and beyond that.
“The fans deserve to have a great show every year because there are so many great supporters out there. Also there is plenty of Germany in F1, with us German drivers like Sebastian, Hulk and myself, plus of course Mercedes-Benz. So I really hope that Bernie and the promoters find a good solution for everybody.”
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.