Red Bull GRC: Sebastian Eriksson, Honda break through in Louisville

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool
0 Comments

Sebastian Eriksson and Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE are on the board in Red Bull Global Rallycross, following a thrilling battle in today’s second round of the season from Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center.

In a photo finish as he edged Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin by just 0.071 of a second, Eriksson scored his and the Honda Civic Coupe’s first series victories.

WATCH: Full Louisville event replay on NBC

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross driver Scott Speed, an NBCSports.com blogger in 2017, finished third.

The series’ full recap is below:

Photo: Larry Chen/Red Bull Content Pool

Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE driver Sebastian Eriksson nipped Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin by .071 seconds to win Sunday’s Red Bull Global Rallycross Louisville final at the Kentucky Exposition Center. It was Eriksson’s second career victory and the first for Honda since joining the sport at the beginning of last season.

“It was a great race for us,” said Eriksson. “I was up in the lead for a few laps, but then I fell back to fourth, so it was crazy. But it was so much fun! The team has worked so hard for this over the past year and a half, and finally we’ve been able to win a race. It feels great, but we can’t stop working hard and trying to secure more victories this year.”

Though much of the day saw action take place in dry conditions, the wet weather came just in time for the 10-lap Supercar final. Four drivers—Eriksson, Arpin, and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross teammates Scott Speed and Tanner Foust—spent much of the final running nose to tail, with the Joker Lap and a slippery dirt surface shuffling the order throughout. Arpin nearly got past Eriksson in the final corner, setting up a drag race to the finish, but wasn’t quite able to make the pass. All told, the top four drivers finished within one second of each other.

In GRC Lites, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing driver Christian Brooks scored his first career main event win, sweeping all of his race sessions on Sunday. Brooks led Olsbergs MSE X Forces driver Cyril Raymond for much of the final, until Raymond clipped a curb and rolled over; he was unhurt in the incident. Memphis winner Conner Martell took second, while Gustavo Yacaman earned third place in his rallycross debut.

Official Supercar final results from Red Bull Global Rallycross Louisville are as follows:

  1. Sebastian Eriksson, #93 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  2. Steve Arpin, #00 Loenbro Motorsports
  3. Scott Speed, #41 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
  4. Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross
  5. Mitchell deJong, #24 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  6. Austin Dyne, #14 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing*
  7. Oliver Eriksson, #16 Honda Red Bull Olsbergs MSE
  8. Cabot Bigham, #2 Bryan Herta Rallysport

*Car 14 reinstated to sixth place after technical issue with transponder

The 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross season continues on June 3-4 with the first doubleheader of the season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Tickets are available at redbullglobalrallycross.com/tickets. The Supercar finals can be seen on NBC on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, both airing at 5PM ET.

Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

0 Comments

Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.