Rosberg quickest in first practice for Spanish GP

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MONTMELO – Nico Rosberg opened his Spanish Grand Prix weekend in fine style by finishing fastest in the first practice session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:26.828 to finish just seven-hundredths of a second clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets as their intra-team battle looks set to continue this weekend.

However, Rosberg does remain under investigation with the stewards after entering the pit lane incorrectly, moving to the wrong side of the bollard.

First practice saw a number of teams try out their new upgrades ahead of the race on Sunday, with the parts being introduced in a bid to move up the field and cut the gap to Mercedes at the front.

Ferrari ran with a number of updates on its cars during the first session, but neither Sebastian Vettel nor Kimi Raikkonen could challenge the Mercedes drivers at the front. They were ultimately forced to settle for third and fourth place respectively, finishing almost one second off the pace.

Red Bull debuted its shorter nose design in the first session, running it on Daniil Kvyat’s car as he finished seventh. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was less fortunate, suffering an engine problem that limited him to just nine laps in the entirety of the session. He did manage to finish ninth in the final standings thanks to a late flying lap, though.

Despite only bringing minor updates to Spain, Toro Rosso ran very strongly in the first practice session as Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fifth ahead of Max Verstappen in sixth place ahead of Kvyat. Felipe Massa finished eighth for Williams ahead of Ricciardo in ninth and Felipe Nasr, who rounded out the top ten.

Susie Wolff enjoyed her third practice run-out on a grand prix weekend on Friday, and put in a respectable display to finish in 14th place. Although her fastest lap was 0.8 seconds slower than that of Massa in the sister Williams car, the Briton had no problems with the FW37 car and managed to complete 22 laps in total.

Raffaele Marciello also took part in practice for Sauber as part of his reserve driver commitments, coming home in 12th ahead of Lotus reserve Jolyon Palmer, who finished 13th. Valtteri Bottas, Marcus Ericsson and Grosjean will return for the second practice session later today.

You can watch FP2 live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Friday. For more information, click here.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.