Alonso and Bottas cleared by FIA to race in Malaysia

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Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas will both return to action in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix after successfully recovering from their injuries.

After both drivers failed to take part in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, they were required to pass an assessment from the FIA medical delegate upon arriving in Malaysia ahead of practice on Friday.

Alonso was rested for the first race of the season after an accident during pre-season testing that left him in hospital for three days, with his team, McLaren, claiming that he had been concussed following a sizeable impact with a concrete wall.

However, the FIA confirmed on Thursday that the Spaniard will return for this weekend’s race at the Sepang International Circuit after passing the final medical check.

“In accordance with normal procedures, McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso was this morning examined by the FIA Medical Delegate and Chief Medical Officer at the Sepang Circuit Medical Centre,” a statement read.

“During the examination the driver passed all mandatory fitness tests and has thus been declared fit to race in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.”

Alonso will be joined on the grid by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who was forced to miss the Australian Grand Prix after sustaining a back injury during qualifying for the race.

“Following the injury that Valtteri sustained to his lower back during qualifying for the Australian GP, he has been with a leading physiotherapist who has been working with Valtteri and his trainer to make sure he received the best treatment possible ahead of this weekend’s race,” Williams said in a statement.

“The team has always been fully supportive of Valtteri and his determination to return to the cockpit and following final approval by the FIA medical team in Malaysia today, we are pleased to confirm that Valtteri will be back in the FW37 this weekend for the Malaysian Grand Prix.”

As a result, the grid will be back up to its full complement of drivers in Malaysia, although it remains to be seen whether Manor will be able to get out on track and qualify for the race after failing to do so in Australia.

For all of the broadcasting options for this weekend’s race, click here.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points

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Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

450s
2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

250s
2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Detroit
Indianapolis
Daytona
Arlington
Oakland
Tampa
Houston
Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points