Lorenzo takes Valencia pole for MotoGP finale as Rossi crashes

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Jorge Lorenzo will start the final race of the 2015 MotoGP season in Valencia from pole position after producing a near-perfect lap in Saturday’s qualifying session.

Lorenzo arrives in Valencia trailing Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi by seven points at the top of the riders’ championship.

Rossi will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid after sparking controversy at the last race in Malaysia when he appeared to kick Honda’s Marc Marquez and cause the Spaniard to fall from his bike.

The Italian chose to take part in qualifying regardless, but ended the session in the gravel after falling on his final flying lap and sliding off the track.

Lorenzo showed no signs of cracking under the pressure of the title decider, producing a stunning first effort of 1:30.011 in qualifying to set a new lap record in Valencia.

A second lap from Lorenzo late on yielded no improvement, but would also have been good enough for pole had his first not counted.

Marquez put up the most stringent challenge to Lorenzo at the front of the pack, finishing 0.488 seconds behind in second place. Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa lapped just 0.017 seconds slower to slot into third place and complete the front row of the grid.

Aleix Espargaro continued Suzuki’s good qualifying form to finish fourth ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith, while Ducati’s Andrea Iannone struggled to keep up his practice pace, leaving him seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

American rider Nicky Hayden will start his last MotoGP race from 16th on Sunday ahead of his move into the World Superbike Championship for 2016.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.