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Marquez leaves it late to score Misano MotoGP victory

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Marc Marquez left it late to secure his fourth victory of the 2017 MotoGP season and move back into the lead of the riders’ championship on countback, passing Danilo Petrucci on the final lap of the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano on Sunday.

Starting third after crashing out of qualifying on Saturday, Marquez made a good getaway to sit second early on behind Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo, who vaulted up the order on a wet circuit.

Marquez slipped behind Octo Pramac Ducati rider Petrucci in the early stages as he struggled in the spray, but moved back up to second when Lorenzo high-sided and was thrown from his bike.

Petrucci led a close train including Marquez and points leader Andrea Dovizioso, with the trio being covered by just a couple of seconds for much of the race.

Marquez looked uncomfortable as he worked to keep up with Petrucci, informing his Repsol Honda team to ready a dry setup bike with different brakes despite conditions still being damp.

Petrucci and Marquez dropped Dovizioso heading into the final few laps, with the Spaniard closing in on the leader heading onto the final lap.

Marquez lined up a move on the main straight on the final lap, passing into Turn 1 before defending well and pulling clear, posting the fastest lap of the race en route to the checkered flag.

The result sees Marquez move back into the lead of the riders’ championship with five races to go, tied with Dovizioso on 199 points but ahead by virtue of having more second-place finishes than the Italian.

Petrucci took P2 to mark his fourth MotoGP podium, but was left disappointed after coming within a lap of his maiden victory in the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Pole sitter Maverick Viñales failed to recover from a poor start, finishing fourth on the sole Yamaha factory bike ahead of Michele Pirro and Jack Miller.

British racer Scott Redding took P7 ahead of Alex Rins and Jonas Folger, while Bradley Smith completed the top 10 positions, having gained places after Johann Zarco slowed on the final lap, ultimately pushing his bike across the line.

MotoGP returns at Motorland Aragon in two weeks’ time before embarking on its final flyaways of the season.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).