Photo of the 1999 IndyCar race in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Getty Images

IndyCar downplays Brazil’s announcement of Rio race in 2020

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Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella excitedly announced Thursday that the Brazilian city will host an IndyCar race in 2020.

Crivella revealed the street race would pass through Rio’s iconic sambadrome, which is where the majority of 120,000 spectators and floats pass through during Brazil’s annual Carnival festivities.

There’s only one problem: no one from Brazil seemed to tell IndyCar about the race.

Perhaps looking to steal some of the thunder from Sao Paulo’s Brazilian Grand Prix Formula One race this weekend, Crivella’s announcement was made without any input from IndyCar.

When NBC Sports reached out to IndyCar regarding Crivella’s announcement, the sanctioning body released the following statement from Stephen Starks, IndyCar Vice President, Promoter and Media Partner Relations:

“We are always exploring first-class cities to host our events, and the sport has had exceptional races and racers from Brazil.

“However, at this point we are only exploring the possibilities that might exist in that country.”

IndyCar first raced in Brazil in 1996 at the Jacarapegua racetrack, where the Rio Olympic Park was later built upon.

IndyCar’s last Brazilian race was 2013 in Sao Paulo.

The city of Brasilia was slated to host an IndyCar race in 2015, but the event was cancelled shortly before it was to be held.

Still, it’s no secret that Brazil wants IndyCar back racing within its borders, particularly since three drivers of Brazilian heritage are currently competing in the series: Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist and Pietro Fittipaldi.

Also, Helio Castroneves, who switched from a long career in IndyCar to IMSA for the 2018 season, is also a Brazilian native and major fan favorite.

It’s unclear where Brazil and IndyCar go from here.

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Maverick Vinales scores first MotoGP win of season after Bagnaia crashes

MotoGP Maverick Vinales
ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images
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Maverick Vinales ended a seasonlong winless drought in MotoGP, winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after Francesco Bagnaia crashed while leading with seven laps to go.

Holding off Joan MIr and Pol Espargarao at the Misano circuit, Vinales, 25, won his first race since the Malaysian Grand Prix last year. The Yahama rider is the sixth different winner in eight rounds this season.

With his eighth career victory, the Spaniard moved into a tie for second in the standings with Fabio Quartararo, who finished fourth Sunday after being penalized 3 seconds for violating track limits and losing a spot. There are seven races remaining in the season, which has had no repeat winners since Quartararo opened with consecutive victories in Spain.

“Amazing job this weekend,” Vinales said. “(Bagnaia) was very fast, I was pushing a lot and trying to save a bit of tire for the last 10 laps. Very happy because my mentality ha been competely the same, we just found a better setup.

“I appreciate all the work, because threre had been tough times in my team, but we kept pushing and found better luck, and we have to continue like that.”

Andrea Dovizioso, who finished eighth, leads the championship by a point over Vinales and Quartararo.

Bagnaia, who finished second a week earlier, was on track to become the fifth first-time winner in MotoGP’s premier series this season. But he lost control in Turn 6 while under pressure for the lead from Vinales.

Pramac Racing rider Francesco Bagnaia stands after crashing from the lead during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Misano circuit (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images).