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Rosberg takes US GP pole in shortened qualifying session

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Nico Rosberg will start today’s United States Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets during the postponed qualifying session on Sunday morning.

After rain washed out the planned session on Saturday afternoon, qualifying eventually got underway at 9am local time, albeit in conditions similar to the wet FP3 session earlier in the weekend.

Drivers took to the track for the beginning of Q1 as heavy rain continued to fall, with Romain Grosjean saying that conditions were “on the limit” for the session to take place.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the first to fall foul of the slippery track, taking too much kerb in the first sector before sliding off the circuit and into the wall to leave Toro Rosso with a big repair job ahead of the race. His shunt also prompted the stewards to bring out the red flag.

The session resumed with Hamilton setting the early pace in the wet conditions. As more and more cars circulated and dried the track, times began to tumble, but the Briton remained in P1 until the end of Q1.

Sebastian Vettel made a rare mistake at turn ten to leave his car with minor damage, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the session. The four-time world champion narrowly made it through to Q2, with Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens joining Sainz in the dropzone.

With heavier rain incoming, the teams opted to send their drivers out early at the beginning of Q2, and it was Mercedes who once again set the pace. Nico Rosberg produced a fine lap to take P1 early on, edging out Hamilton by one-tenth of a second to end Q2 at the top of the order.

The worsening rain prevented the drivers from improving in the final five minutes of the session, resigning the McLaren drivers to their regular Q2 exit. Fernando Alonso finished 11th, marking his best qualifying result of the season so far, while teammate Jenson Button finished down in 14th.

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was arguably the most surprising dropout in Q2, finishing 12th ahead of Romain Grosjean. Pastor Maldonado propped up the order, ending the session 15th in the sister Lotus.

As the checkered flag was waved in Q2, Vettel, Button and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat took to their team radios to call for the session to be red flagged, believing the conditions to have become too dangerous for more running.

The start of Q3 was delayed by ten minutes before race control decided to call the result, believing conditions to be unsafe for any further running in qualifying.

As a result, the grid is formed from the Q2 result with Rosberg taking pole position in Austin for the second year in a row. Hamilton will start alongside him on the front row of the grid. Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat lock out the second row for P3 and P4, while Sebastian Vettel drops from fifth to 15th by virtue of his grid penalty.

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg move up to fifth and sixth for Force India ahead of Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen, with Kimi Raikkonen also falling down ten places from P8 to P18 due to his grid penalty.

After claiming his third straight pole position, Rosberg will now be hoping to end his winless streak that dates back to the Austrian Grand Prix in June and delay Hamilton’s title celebrations.

However, should Hamilton outscore Rosberg by two points and Vettel by nine, he will be crowned F1 world champion for the third time on Sunday.

You can watch the United States Grand Prix live on NBC from 2:30pm ET today.

Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen finish 1-2 at High Point, tie for points lead

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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Time was running off the clock and Eli Tomac was going to give up the overall win to Ken Roczen, until the Colorado native dug deep and made the pass for second in Moto 2 at High Point Raceway at Mount Morris, Penn. Roczen would win his third Moto of the season, but Tomac won the war.

With a third-place finish in Moto 1 and his second in Moto 2, Tomac grabbed the overall victory for the second time this season in Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship.

For Tomac, it was another difficult start to the race. He tipped his bike over in Moto 1 and fell back to fifth while battling two seconds behind the leader Blake Baggett. Tomac had to battle his way back toward the front again after barely cracking the top five in the first Motos in two of the first three rounds.

Roczen fared even worse in Moto 1. He finished sixth in that race – more than 34 seconds behind the leader Baggett. Determined to make up for his bad start, Roczen charged through the field in Moto 2 and took the lead from Cooper Webb on Lap 9.

“I was just going to charge,” Roczen told NBC Sports after his Moto win. “Do the best I can. I went back to my Colorado (last week) settings because the first race was awful; I couldn’t even ride.”

Tomac entered the round two points behind Roczen and was able to make up only those two points. The battle continues onto Florida next week with a tie for the top spot.

With a 2-5, Jason Anderson grabbed third overall.

Battling back from injury, Anderson faded in the closing laps of Moto 2, but is regaining strength each week.

Webb (third) and Zach Osborne (fourth) rounded out the top five in Moto 2 and finished fourth and fifth respectively overall.

Moto 1 featured a rider searching for his first Moto win in two years. Baggett earned the holeshot and held off an early advantage by Tomac. When Tomac fell, it handed second to Anderson, who finished nearly 10 seconds behind the leader.

“Every time I get out front here, I have that weird sensation of trying to keep it on two wheels,” Baggett said on NBC Sports Gold following his win.

Tomac was not the only rider to go down in Moto 1. Webb lost his pegs on Lap 9 and became the cape to his KTM motorcycle as he flew along holding tight to the handlebars. He recovered in that race to finish seventh.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

Adam Cianciarulo remains perfect in the 250 class. Winning Moto 2 in each round so far this season, Cianciarulo has capitalized on his late event surges to sweep Victory Lane in the first four weeks.

It wasn’t an easy run for Cianciarulo, nonetheless. He was only fifth at the end of Lap 1 in Moto 1 and was forced to slice through the field to get to second at the checkers of that race.

“Just coming to the races now – coming to outdoor nationals now – compared to the past, it’s just an entirely different vibe,” Cianciarulo said on NBCSN after the race. “It’s like I’m experiencing it for the first time because for the first time in my whole pro career I believe in myself.

“It’s a process when you hit rock bottom and start coming back.”

Hunter Lawrence stole the show in Moto 1. Earning his first career win handily, he came out in Moto 2 and proved it was not a fluke by finishing third in the race and taking second overall.

“It’s awesome,” Lawrence said on NBC Sports Gold following his Moto 1 victory. “It’s just a Moto win, but it’s a big milestone in our trip and campaign.”

Chase Sexton earned the holeshot in Moto 1, but faded to fourth at the end. Sexton kept Cianciarulo in sight in the back half of Moto 2 to finish second in the race and third overall.

With a 3-4, Dylan Ferrandis finished fourth overall with Colt Nichols (5-5) finishing fifth.

After losing the overall at Thunder Valley amidst controversy, Justin Cooper wanted to make a statement. He barely raised his voice with a sixth in Moto 1 and a ninth in Moto 2 to finish ninth overall.  He lost another 20 points to the points leader as Cianciarulo starts to edge away from the pack. Cooper remains second in the points, but is now 26 back.

Garrett Marchbanks went down hard on Lap 4 of Moto 1 and had the bike land on his head. He did not start Moto 2, but there have been no report of injury yet.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[4] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)

250MX
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)

Next race: WW Ranch Motocross Park, Jacksonville, Fla. June 22

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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