Rossi fights back to claim emotional MotoGP win in Barcelona

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Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi fought back from a poor start that left him running as low as seventh to win Sunday’s Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona for Yamaha.

Rossi started fifth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but slipped back after a poor getaway from the grid.

Pole-sitter Marc Marquez also failed to get a clean getaway, allowing Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo to assume the lead of the race in the early stages.

Lorenzo was unable to open up a gap to the chasing pack, while Rossi managed to fight his way back up to third in just three laps, leaving him to dice with Marquez for position.

After seeing off Marquez, Rossi then made light work of Lorenzo to take the lead of the race on lap seven. Marquez followed him through as Lorenzo struggled for pace, causing him to drop down the order.

As Rossi and Marquez battled at the front, Lorenzo’s race came to an early end after Ducati’s Andrea Iannone crashed into him when attempting an overtake. Lorenzo was furious with the Italian rider, but had to accept that his championship lead was lost.

Marquez tried to keep up with Rossi, but a mistake on the penultimate lap caused him to lose ground and ended his hopes of a home victory. Rossi was able to ease to the line, enjoying an advantage of 2.6 seconds at the checkered flag.

After the race, Rossi and Marquez put aside their long-running rivalry to shake hands in parc ferme before donning t-shirts paying tribute to Moto2 rider Luis Salom, who died in practice on Friday. Rossi also dedicated his victory to Salom.

Dani Pedrosa followed Honda teammate Marquez home in third place, while Maverick Vinales finished fourth for Suzuki. Pol Espargaro ended the race fifth for Tech3 ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and the sole factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso in sixth and seventh respectively.

Alvaro Bautista finished eighth ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Hector Barbera, the latter unable to maintain his good qualifying result as he fell from P4 on the grid to P10 at the flag.

The next MotoGP race takes place in Assen on June 25.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.