Supercross: Max Vohland, Red Bull KTM contract signed through 2023

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Red Bull KTM Racing has signed Max Vohland to a three-year contract that runs through the 2023 season, according to RacerXonline.com.

Earlier this week, Red Bull KTM announced a three-rider lineup that included the return of Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb in the 450 class with Vohland tagged as their only 250 rider. The length of the contracts were not announced.

This week in an interview with RacerX, Vohland revealed he will race through the 2023 season.

The indoor series was not on the original timeline for his rookie season. Ideally Vohland would have liked to gain some experience in the outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series first and then tackle the much tighter confines of stadium racing. But sometimes an opportunity comes along that cannot be ignored.

“The plan was to turn pro outdoors in 2021. But with GasGas [Motorcycles] coming in and a couple of things switching up, KTM didn’t have a 250 guy, and Roger [De Coster] and Ian [Harrison] said I was their first pick,” Vohland said. “They gave us an option and said if we weren’t comfortable doing supercross the first year—because a lot of rookies come in and get hurt doing supercross—to just let them know and they would find another guy for supercross. But we weren’t going to give up an offer like that.”

One way to mitigate the danger of getting hurt in the stadium series was to add time to his contact. Should Vohland sustain an injury, he has an extra season to recover and still showcase his skill in the pro ranks.

“We ended up getting an extension of one extra year, through 2023, so it’s not such a risk this first year,” Vohland continued. “No pressure. Got lucky with all of it, but I’m excited about it.”

Max’s father Tallon Vohland was instrumental in the decision to race supercross in 2021.

“I’ve seen people already saying, ‘Hey you guys said you were taking the slow road and now you’re racing supercross,’ ” Tallon said. “We intended to take the slow road. We were thinking of maybe just starting with outdoors, but with this opportunity, you have to do supercross. So we ended up asking for an extra year on our deal.”

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Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.