Rossi: Flying the star-spangled banner in Austin

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It’s an honor to be the first American Formula 1 driver to race at Circuit of The Americas, and a responsibility I don’t take lightly. After eight solid days of media work before even arriving on track at COTA, it’s given me a perspective and helped me reflect on the road I have traveled these past 15 years.

Since Russia, it’s been a whirlwind! I arrived back home in London last Monday with the week full of diverse media commitments along with my training program. These past couple of days I’ve been in New York with back-to-back media commitments and interviews before arriving in Austin on Tuesday evening.

It’s been great to see how positively the US fan base is responding to my race drive in F1. I also have the full support of Manor Marussia F1 Team, on and off track as we prepare for the upcoming rounds and my plans to race for them in 2016.

Manor Marussia F1 Team and the support around me is fantastic! Everyone is working for the same goal, and both my opening races in Singapore and Japan were very good for me. I’m grateful to have had these races before the US Grand Prix this weekend, as they helped me understand the procedures at Manor and some new systems within the team this year. Many of the team members are the same as last year and there are even some familiar faces from Caterham so it’s a great environment to be in.

For the weekend, it‘s likely it will rain a bit. If so, this definitely presents a great opportunity for us to do something memorable. I like racing in the wet! This is something that is always hard to explain to someone who doesn’t race cars for a living. The rain gives smaller teams a chance to capitalize on what happens ahead, and inside the cockpit it’s just another environment you drive in.

Yes, it’s obviously trickier to control a car with the power-to-weight ratio of a modern F1 car, but at the same time the speeds are much slower so you adapt your driving style. Either way, wet or dry I’m confident about the weekend program that the team and I will plan and work through. I cannot wait to get to work on Thursday.

Part of me hopes it rains, but the F1 fan in me hopes it’s sunny. It’s just turning to autumn in Austin and the temperatures are awesome. The heat of the summer has started to go and if I was going to a race anywhere in the world, Austin would be right up there as one of my top destinations. You have a city with amazing food, music and the weather now means you can run in the mornings, and then sit in the grandstands for the race without suffering from the intense Texas summer heat.

COTA does a great job of making sure the fans that come to town have a great experience, both at the circuit and in the city itself. This year COTA have Elton John playing after the race, and if I wasn’t heading straight out to California on Sunday night for Monday and Tuesday sponsor events, I’d want to catch that.

Downtown COTA puts on an awesome FanFest from Thursday to Saturday night. Montreal does a similar thing, shutting down streets to put on entertainment for the fans. Having having taken part in a few activities there and in Austin in previous years, I know how much it means to race-goers that the circuits go above and beyond to give them a really memorable experience.

This year I’ll be taking part in a Fan Forum at COTA’s FanFest on Thursday evening with a few other drivers and senior F1 people and I’m confident there will be a lot of people who work in the F1 paddock heading down to the FanFest on Thursday and Saturday night to see the bands they have playing. Why not Friday? Simple, that’s usually the latest night of the whole race weekend for F1 teams (assuming we haven’t had any major issues on Thursday or Saturday) as the cars are prepared after Friday’s two practice sessions.

Whether we’re in Austin, Montreal, Singapore or Silverstone, Friday is always a similar schedule. We do the two practice sessions, then the mechanics strip down the cars while the engineers plan how they’ll be set up for Saturday and Sunday. The drivers all have a meeting on Friday afternoon, first with Charlie Whiting to talk about anything that needs discussing from the previous race or anything about the weekend ahead. From there the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA) meet and then it’s straight back to work with engineers to review FP1 and FP2.

We pretty much always have dinner on track with the crew on Friday night and then back to working late with the engineers, where we go through every single bit of information they’ve developed from the cars, not just using people on track but also back at the team bases in Europe. Then all the data is used to optimize the setup for qualifying and the race.

Friday for the drivers and the teams is the longest day of the weekend. I try to return to my hotel room by 9pm to rest and then put in an early gym session on Saturday morning before heading to the track. In Austin the schedules are earlier than quite a few of the races, so it’s an even earlier start than normal on Saturday before FP3 and qualifying.

After qualifying, preparing for the race is mostly strategy versus car set-up. There is very little change you can do to the car after qualifying, so Saturday evening is usually a good time to train, have dinner and get a good night’s rest.

In F1, there are many responsibilities outside the car so it’s quite important to be able to switch on and off from these duties before and during the race weekend. One thing about being a race driver that’s unanimous among us is that we are at our best in the car, engine fired up and ready to go to work.

The US GP is only a few days away and I look forward to seeing you in Austin.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

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Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s