Rosenqvist fastest in eventful first practice at Barber

Stephen King/IndyCar
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Felix Rosenqvist posted the fastest lap in the first of three practice sessions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a time of 1 minute, 9.2296 seconds.

The Chip Ganassi Racing rookie led Sebastien Bourdais by 0.0454 seconds, with James Hinchcliffe finishing third (1 minute, 9.3276 seconds) despite being one of three drivers to spin nearly simultaneously with less than ten minutes remaining in the session.

Takuma Sato also spun, as did Tony Kanaan, who brought out a red flag when his car became stopped on the track after spinning in turn 16.

The unfortunate combination of a wet track and cold tires made for a very eventful session, as other drivers found their way off course as well.

Before Kanaan’s trouble, his teammate Matheus Leist brought out a red flag himself with 24 minutes remaining, after he spun in turn seven and made contact with the inside retaining wall.

Team strategist George Klotz told NBC Sports Gold that, besides the front and rear wings, he didn’t believe Leist’s car had any additional damage.

The practice session ended under the red flag, when Spencer Pigot spun and got stuck in a sandtrap at the exit of Turn 17.

Scott Dixon (1:09.4373) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:09.4452) rounded out the top five.

Rookie Patricio O’Ward posted the most laps with 16.

Full Practice 1 Results

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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.