Crutchlow becomes first British MotoGP winner in 35 years with Brno victory

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Cal Crutchlow became the first British rider to win a race in the premier class of motorcycle racing in 35 years after claiming a stunning victory in Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix.

Crutchlow started 10th on the grid at Brno, but dropped back to 15th in the early stages after making a poor getaway.

The track had been left damp following a rain shower in the lead-up to the start of the race, bringing many of the satellite riders into contention as the typically-dominant factory runners struggled.

Pole-sitter Marc Marquez dropped back early on, handing control of the race to Ducati’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian was eaged to follow up his maiden MotoGP victory last Sunday in Austria with a second victory, but as the race wore on, his soft tires started to fade.

Running with hard front and rear tires, Crutchlow began to light up the timing sheets as he swept through the field, rising from 15th at the start of lap four to find himself leading on lap 15.

The LCR Honda rider remained cool at the front of the pack in the closing stages to cross the line and record a famous victory, finishing seven seconds clear of nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi in second place.

“It’s the best day of my racing career, but I’m really really pleased for my team,” Crutchlow said after the race.

“We worked hard for this and I took the gamble. Not many other people did and as far as I’m concerned they’re all wimps! I don’t know why if you choose one harder option you don’t choose the other. But anyway, we did the best job today and I’m so pleased for the team.

“I smashed a bike yesterday and they didn’t leave the circuit last night until midnight – so this was a good way to repay them today. I almost crashed at Turn 10 when I changed into sixth instead of fifth, but once I knew Valentino wasn’t coming – no one was coming for me – I just rode around and didn’t take risks.”

Marquez rounded out the podium for Honda, ensuring that he extended his championship lead as nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo finished a lap down in P17.

The weather shook up the pecking order enough to allow Loris Baz to finish fourth ahead of Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty, with Danilo Petrucci in seventh. Iannone faded to eighth at the checkered flag, while Maverick Vinales and Tito Rabat rounded out the top 10.

Crutchlow’s victory was the first for a British rider in the premier class of motorcycle racing since Barry Sheene in 1981, capping off a memorable couple of sporting weeks for the UK.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”