Di Grassi: Formula E title lost with “joke disqualification” in Berlin

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LONDON – Lucas di Grassi remained upbeat despite losing out in the race for the FIA Formula E championship on Sunday in London, saying that it had already been lost two races earlier in Berlin.

Di Grassi won the series’ first ever race in Beijing and led the standings for the majority of the season, only to be passed by Nelson Piquet Jr after he was disqualified from the Berlin ePrix on May 23.

After winning the race on track, di Grassi was excluded due to a technical irregularity with his car, losing 25 points for the victory and another two to Piquet.

In London on Sunday, Piquet was crowned the series’ champion by just one point from Sebastien Buemi, whilst di Grassi finished third in the final standings a further ten points back.

“[I’m] feeling good,” di Grassi told MotorSportsTalk after the race. “The job was done. I took six points from the championship leader this weekend, so my part of the bargain was done.

“I feel that the championship was lost in Berlin with the disqualification. Not today, not this weekend. Even with the weather, even being unlucky in qualifying, we managed to do a fourth and a sixth place, get 22 points home and it was the best we could do.

“It was just for me, in my opinion, it was a joke disqualification which I still don’t agree [with]. The championship was lost there, clearly.

“On my side, I did my job. I didn’t make any mistakes [in] the whole championship. All the points that we lost, they were due to durability of the parts or the disqualification in Berlin. So I think the championship that I did was pretty good, pretty solid.”

Di Grassi is refusing to dwell on the matter, though, and is instead looking ahead to the second Formula E season that kicks off this fall.

“I’m looking forward to next season already,” di Grassi said. “I think we start working on our new car already tomorrow.

“We’re doing the first test of the car next week to make sure that we have good equipment and we’ll be able to fight for the championship again, that’s the goal.”

Champion Marc Marquez leads MotoGP into virtual world Sunday

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During its layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MotoGP will become the latest racing series to enter the virtual world.

The MotoGP Virtual Race will be held at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, March 29 with 10 riders. It will be streamed on several platforms, including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel. Reigning series champion Marc Marquez is among the riders in the field.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. NASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.