Maldonado considers himself ‘lucky’ to have left Renault

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Pastor Maldonado considers himself “lucky” to have left Renault’s Formula 1 project at the beginning of the season given its on-track difficulties in 2016.

Maldonado raced for Lotus in 2014 and 2015 before the team was bought by Renault at the end of last year.

Maldonado was initially confirmed to be taking one of the seats, before cutting ties with the team during pre-season when his backing fell through.

Kevin Magnussen was drafted in to partner Jolyon Palmer, but both have struggled for pace in the opening half of the season, collectively scoring just one top-10 finish in the opening nine races.

Maldonado has been undertaking testing for F1 tire supplier Pirelli, but made a surprise appearance in the IndyCar paddock at Iowa Speedway on Saturday ahead of the Iowa Corn 300.

Speaking to NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno in Iowa, Maldonado said that he considered himself lucky to have left Renault given its difficulties in 2016, while also shedding light on Lotus’ financial troubles.

“I think I’m very lucky because looking at the situation with the team, I think I’m very lucky to leave that situation again,” Maldonado said.

“The last two years, they were horrible in the team. We were running out of budget and it was very, very difficult.

“But at the same time, we learned a lot to survive with that and to do our best with what we have at the time.

“I think it was a good moment to stay out for a bit.”

Maldonado is refusing to give up on his F1 dream, but would only return if he can race in a competitive car and battle for points.

“I will try of course. But the situation must be guaranteed,” Maldonado said.

“It’s very difficult to win and very difficult to have the best car.

“But of course I would like to have a team in Formula 1 to give me the opportunity to fight for points regularly.”

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.