MONTMELO – Max Verstappen has set his sights on qualifying in the top six for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday after an impressive display during the first two practice sessions of the weekend.
Verstappen finished sixth in both sessions for Toro Rosso on Friday despite the team not bringing any major updates to the race unlike a number of its rivals.
However, Verstappen believes that the nature of the circuit and the easier engine management has benefitted Toro Rosso so far this weekend.
“We kind of knew this track would suit our car,” Verstappen said. “Some medium-speed and high-speed corners, that’s where our car is performing, and I think this track is not so much engine related, not as much as Bahrain and China. It just helps us.
“You still have to wait and see what the Mercedes engine [teams] do in qualifying, but I think the margin we have so far compared to the other teams is quite good, so I’m quite confident for tomorrow.”
When asked to set a target for qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen said that reaching Q3 would be the main aim, but also said that he thought Toro Rosso could fight with Williams for grid position.
“For sure, Q3,” the Dutchman said. “Of course, normally Mercedes and Ferrari will be in front anyway.
“Williams, I think we can maybe challenge, so I’m looking forward to that. I would be really happy with that.”
Verstappen has reached Q3 just once so far this season, qualifying sixth for the Malaysian Grand Prix before scoring his first points in F1 in the race the following day.
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.