MRTI: Cape takes three of four wins to highlight Pro Mazda, USF2000 weekend at Barber


It was a big – and needed – weekend for the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team across the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda championships at Barber Motorsports Park.

Neil Alberico took Sunday’s Pro Mazda win, for his third win in five races this season. Meanwhile Cape swept the USF2000 pair of races with Aaron Telitz (Friday) finally breaking through for his first win of the year, and Nico Jamin (Saturday) bouncing back in a big week from Saturday’s frustration. Weiron Tan of Andretti Autosport scored the Saturday Pro Mazda win.


See separate race recaps (Saturday, Sunday) for Spencer Pigot’s domination of Barber Motorsports Park for Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

Tan and Buret get a little too close on Race 2 start. Photo: Pro Mazda


Tan – who’d starred at Barber during the frigid Winterfest back in February – continued his track dominance in the opening round of the weekend with a relatively unchallenged win over Juncos Racing’s Timothe Buret and Team Pelfrey’s Santiago Urrutia. About the toughest part of the race was the start, which was waved off three times before it finally went green. The win is the Malaysian’s first in the Pro Mazda regular season.

Sunday’s race was a crazier event, as Tan continuing his aggressive streak as he pushed Buret wide off the line on the start, which earned him a penalty. Later contact with Kyle Connery, another near incident with Buret, and another moment of contact with Buret’s teammate Jose Gutierrez followed during the 17-lap race.

Up front, Alberico seized the advantage after the start line fracas and despite not having the outright fastest car on the day, he moved ahead over Urrutia and another Juncos entry driven by Garett Grist.

Alberico’s win kicked off a three-peat day for the Rising Star Racing program, which supports young American drivers – Spencer Pigot (Indy Lights) and Josef Newgarden (IndyCar) completed the trifecta.

Jamin splashes to victory in Race 2. Photo: USF2000


Cape swept a USF2000 weekend for the first time since Toronto last year, when Jake Eidson and Florian Latorre split the victories.

Telitz, who has been nothing if not unlucky for most of the season, finally caught a break after starting fourth in Friday’s first race. Afterburner Autosport’s Victor Franzoni collided with Telitz’s teammate Jamin at Turn 2, which left the Frenchman stuck in a gravel trap.

Telitz completed two more passes on Eidson and Franzoni in succession, and the Wisconsin native held on from there for his first win of the year over those two.

Saturday’s race, slightly rain-delayed and held on a sunny but still wet track, saw Jamin recover in a dominant performance. Arguably the star of the race though behind him was Anthony Martin, the Australian driving for John Cummiskey Racing, who made several clean passes and made it up to a season-best second. Eidson was third for the second time in as many days.


The most hectic race weekend of the season will occur May 6-9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. While USF2000 and Indy Lights will have the standard two races, Pro Mazda will have three, with a makeup round added following the weather-affected cancellation of the race at NOLA Motorsports Park two weeks ago.


  • Indy Lights: Ed Jones, Carlin (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg, Round 3, Long Beach); Spencer Pigot, Juncos Racing (Rounds 4-5, Barber)
  • Pro Mazda: Neil Alberico, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg, Round 5, Barber), Santiago Urrutia, Team Pelfrey (Round 3, NOLA), Weiron Tan, Andretti Autosport (Round 4, Barber)
  • USF2000: Jake Eidson, Pabst Racing (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg), Nico Jamin, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Round 3, NOLA, Round 6, Barber), Victor Franzoni, Afterburner Autosport (Round 4, NOLA), Aaron Telitz, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Round 5, Barber)

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.