Vettel edges out Rosberg in second practice for Austrian GP

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Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a gearbox problem in the first practice session on Friday in Austria to post the fastest time in FP2, edging out Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.

Ferrari entered this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix with hopes of challenging the German marque at the head of the field after finishing off the podium for the first time in 2015 at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel managed to make the most of the super-soft tires in FP2, posting a fastest lap of 1:09.600 to edge out Rosberg by just 0.011 seconds for first place.

However, the session was far from perfect for Ferrari as Vettel suffered yet another issue on his car, forcing him to pull out of the final 25 minutes of second practice as a result.

The German driver had lost time in the morning due to a gearbox problem, and although the one-lap pace of the SF15-T car is clearly impressive, Ferrari may struggle come the race due to a lack of practice running with Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen underpinned Ferrari’s good pace by finishing third in the final classification, just ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish the session in fifth place, recording a time that was half a second down on both Vettel and Rosberg at the front.

Coming off the back of his victory at Le Mans, Nico Hulkenberg managed to impress in the Force India to finish sixth in FP2, with teammate Sergio Perez ending 10th overall. Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.

With Ferrari now putting up more of a fight to Mercedes at the front, the stage is set for a closely-fought battle for pole position on Saturday. You can watch qualifying live from the Red Bull Ring on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET tomorrow.

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”