W Series kicks off third season in United States at 2022 Miami Grand Prix

W Series third season
W Series

The W Series kicks off its third season this week as part of Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome, and Jamie Chadwick will seek to maintain her reign after winning the first two championships.

The England native, who also has competed in Extreme E, currently bookends the series as the winner of the inaugural race in 2019 at Hockenheimring and with a sweep of two races in the 2021 season finale at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas

While Chadwick has showcased winning talent for winning races, both championships were hotly contested with Chadwick defeating Beitske Visser by 10 points in 2019. Last year’s title featured a season finale that saw Chadwick and Alice Powell enter the weekend tied in points.

Chadwick swept the weekend and walked away with the title, which made her an obvious choice to helm a team launched earlier this year by Caitlyn Jenner, one of four new teams this season. Chadwick will be teamed with Chloe Chambers. The 17-year-old American earned her shot in the series at a test in Arizona earlier this year as well as a follow-up test at Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.

“I feel really comfortable in the car, and I’ve got used to the speed already,” Chambers said in a release. “For this season, I’m going in with a clear mind and willing to learn. With Caitlyn Jenner as a team boss and two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick as a teammate, I couldn’t have two better people in my team to learn from. Both have a wealth of knowledge about sport and racing, and I’m looking forward to working with them, and the entire Jenner Racing Team as the season progresses.”

The Miami Grand Prix will feature two races with title sponsor Hard Rock International for the W Series, which will hold its 10 races this season across eight Formula One race weekends.

“W Series’ 2022 season will start with a bang in Miami, so Hard Rock, a brand which, like W Series, champions diversity and creating more opportunities for women, is the perfect title partner for our opening doubleheader as we continue to make lots of noise in the USA,” said W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir. “Last year’s season finale in Austin, W Series’ first event in the USA, was spectacular, as our women racing drivers showcased their skills in front of 400,000 people across the weekend, creating incredible momentum we are carrying into the inaugural Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix. W Series Miami presented by Hard Rock will be the biggest event we’ve ever staged, and we’re humbled by the fantastic reception from fans and partners alike. We can’t wait for the racing to start.”

The 10 races will be the most staged in a season for the W Series, as well as its longest schedule to date. Its racing calendar begins and ends in North America with the opener in Miami capped off by stops in Austin and Mexico City.

In between, the W Series will race in Barcelona, Spain in two weeks, host three rounds in July in England, France and Hungary, and then kick off October in a companion race at Suzuka, Japan.

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

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

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.