Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service

Rossi: A Sochi win, and full-on prep for Austin

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And so it continues, still lots of work to do but I left Sochi feeling good about the momentum and another win leading into the final GP2 rounds in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

I really enjoy racing on street circuits and Racing Engineering did an awesome job all weekend to help me put my third win in three race weekends on the board. It wasn’t quite enough to delay Stoffel’s celebrations, but full congratulations to him for his 2015 Championship – it’s been a fantastic battle with him all year. Now that the title pressure is off and we’re so close to locking up second in the championship, I’m really looking forward to the final GP2 races in November.

It was an interesting weekend, to say the least! We had some issues to sort out in practice and quali was wet, which was good for me. I qualified third and on the delta my last lap was quickest by a big margin, but unfortunately because of traffic in sector two, I was unable to improve from third.

The start was good on Saturday and I was straight into second place, but then the red flag from the shemozzle behind stopped everything for just over 30 minutes while they sorted out the problems on track.

When something like that happens the team has to work super efficiently, so the strategy shifted a little for us as the sun was beginning to set. On another note, it was also impressive to see how efficiently the marshals coped with that sort of problem, as we saw in F1 as well with Carlos and Romain over the weekend.

They’re kind of like the mechanics, another group of people without whom we simply couldn’t go racing, and all too often they don’t get the credit they deserve for doing such a great job. Many of them travel around the world to work at different events and my thanks goes to them for helping us do our jobs, safely and securely.

Back to racing… We started again behind the safety car and I was right up with Alex Lynn and ready for my chance when he pitted. He came in and I pushed hard, setting fastest laps with a car that felt really good at that stage of the race. Then I pitted and came out again right with Alex but his tires were already up to temperature so the fight was on again and I applied pressure for the lead. We had a great fight going and with three laps to go I was able to take advantage of a mistake he made, finishing the race just over three seconds ahead of Gasly and Stoffel behind.

Winning race one meant I started the sprint race on Sunday in eighth with the reverse grid. This was a much more uneventful race, finishing sixth, with no pit stops and struggling a bit with rear grip from the start of the race. But, all in all it was a great weekend and lots of points on the board.

Up next, I’m heading home and to the USGP with the Manor Marussia F1 Team for the 2015 US Formula 1 Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

I have a very busy week in the UK before I fly out to America. I’m splitting my time between F1 race preparations; physical training, engineering programs and a lot of media scheduled both in the UK and New York before Austin comes around.

It’s great to see the support that F1 has around the world, and I’m doing my bit to help make sure as many people as possible know about what a great show Circuit of The Americas will be putting on.

Obviously Austin and the US Grand Prix means I’ll be back in my F1 seat. I’ve driven the track in a variety of vehicles, including a Lotus 49 which I was privileged to drive around there a couple of years back. I also took part in various FP1s for Caterham when they were in F1. 2015 will be my first time around COTA in the current generation F1 power units.

COTA is right up there as one of the best anywhere in the world. I mean that, it has it all! The first sector in particular is great – there’s a few different lines through turn one which climbs up a very steep gradient and then into a pretty tight left, and then the whole section from turn two through turn 10 is awesome. It’s technical, quick and you have to let the car flow through each turn to make sure you maintain momentum.

Out of 11 there’s a long and flat out straight, and then it’s into a stadium section that’s kind of like Hockenheim, except quicker. There are fans in the grandstands all around turns 12, 13, 14 and 15 and then you’re into the final sector and the run to the flag.

I hope to see you there! Book yourself a trip to Austin and come see F1 Texas style.

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Rossi: Looking ahead to Russia and returning to GP2
Rossi: Reflecting on my first two F1 races

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).