Rossi in good position for Manor seat in 2016

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Alexander Rossi believes that he is in a good position to remain with Manor Marussia Formula 1 Team in 2016 and keep his full-time seat in the sport.

Rossi become the first American driver to race in F1 since 2007 at last month’s Singapore Grand Prix, and will this weekend fly the flag in front of his home fans at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Rossi revealed in his NBC Sports blog earlier this week that plans were in the works to race for the team in 2016, and he elaborated on this during Thursday’s FIA press conference at the Circuit of The Americas.

“In terms of next year, I’m obviously quite keen to be in a full-time seat next year, which is apparent,” he said.

“The position that I’m in with the team at the moment is good and we’re looking to put that all together for next year.”

Rossi spoke of the reaction that he has met after ending America’s long driver drought, and made no secret of his pride ahead of his home race weekend.

“I think, first of all, that the reaction has been very positive, which is what we wanted to see,” Rossi said. “Of course there is pride that goes along with it, but that started in Singapore and Japan as well.

“Obviously to be here at home means a big deal, but at the same time we have a job to do and very clear objectives to meet. I’m looking forward to it; there are a lot of friends and family that will be coming this weekend.

“But I think once you get in the car and on track you appreciate the fact that there is a bigger picture.”

Rossi’s is set to quite literally carry the star-spangled banner this weekend, it would appear, with F1 pit reporter Jennie Gow tweeting an image of the Manor’s updated endplate design for the US GP.

Jack Miller wins MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his points slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.