Stoner on Top Day 3 of MotoGP Qatar Test

March 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Day 3 of MotoGP testing in Qatar ended with Casey Stoner leading the pack. Weather conditions proved to be very unusual for what riders are used to in Losail, Qatar. The last day of testing was no exception with low temperatures catching Loris Capirossi, Niccolo Canepa, and Casey Stoner off guard, but none were injured. Dani Pedrosa was absent due to his fall yesterday in which he hurt his left wrist and left knee. After some scans were performed it was revealed that he fractured his left radius bone. He will be undergoing an operation to secure the break.

Riders are looking forward to their final test in Jerez, Spain on March 29th before returning to The Losail Circuit on April 12th for the season opener.

Qatar Test – Day 2 – Lap Times: 

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Vijay Mallya wants results now

March 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

JEREZ (Spain): The words rang calm, but the message was firm. “Past is passe. Others might talk and write what they want, but I knew what I wanted. And it has gone as per expectations. But this year there will be no excuses. I want results.”

That was Vijay Mallya, the Force India Formula One team boss, talking to reporters during this season’s first official testing session in progress at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit.

“It was actually a 2007 car, with some modifications, that we used last season. The main aim was to compete, and that we did. That we came close to be among the points a few times, with a slow car, is an achievement in itself. But we have a brand new car this year. Of course, I am expecting a much better showing this time,” Mallya added.

Does he expect Force India to be on the podium? “It’s too early to say that. Remember, a team like Ferrari took five years to win its first points. And they had a driver like Michael Schumacher! Where was Ferrari before Schumacher? Let’s not have unrealistic expectations.”

What was his feel about the new car? “I asked the drivers, Giancarlo (Fisichella) and (Adrian) Sutil, and both said it looked promising. I go by what my drivers say, because they are the ones who are going to drive it, not me.”

What, according to him, was more important for a team’s success – a fast car or a good driver?

“It’s a combination of both. But then, there are exceptions too. Take the case of Renault. Whatever points they scored last year was because of Fernando Alonso. That he managed to do it with a slow car is even more commendable. I want my drivers to win points like that, by merit, not by default.”

An Indian team, but no Indian drivers? Is there not a single Indian driver good enough to force Force India’s dreams? “I’m firmly of the belief that in a country of more than a billion, there has to be a Lewis Hamilton or Alonso somewhere. We are setting up a programme where we would be sponsoring anyone who we feel has the right talent to excel. Yes, its my dream to see an Indian driving the force India car.”

While he’s excited by the prospect that India is likely to host an F1 race by 2011, he makes it clear that he still would have preferred a street circuit in New Delhi.

“It would have been one of the best in the world had they listened to my proposal. I had even shown Bernie (Ecclestone) the map of the circuit, and he too sounded quite excited. F1 cars zooming through the capital’s streets, wow! But suddenly Suresh Kalmadi goes up to Bernie and tells him he can build a F1 circuit! Who am I to stop him? I am happy anyway. I only want a race in India,” Mallya said.

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Atlanta is the next stop in the topsy-turvy Cup Series

March 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

How unpredictable has the 2009 season been? Where do you begin?

Three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is 19th in the standings entering Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin are 29th and 34th, respectively, after three races.

Carl Edwards, who won a series-high nine races last year, including two of the first three, is winless with one top-10 and has led all of three laps.

David Reutimann is fifth in the standings, Bobby Labonte is 10th and Michael Waltrip is 12th. Reutimann has never won a Cup race, and the last wins for Labonte and Waltrip came in 2003.

Need more?

For only the third time in the past 35 years, no driver has finished in the top 10 in each of the first three races.

“Trust me, guys like Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman [33rd] will not be there long,” said John Andretti, who is 30th. “These teams know they aren’t bad teams, but it shows that everyone can have some bad luck. Right now, it’s like a lottery. The points are going to bounce all around, and you’re going to see some guys jump up big and fall down big.”

Labonte is in the top 10 for the first time since August 2004.

“It’s good to see a lot of diversity at the front right now,” Labonte said. “Our sport needs this, and it’s great.”

“I’m sure the fans have to love this,” Andretti said. “You see more teams up front, and it’s great. You never want to see someone stink up the show. It’s early, but it’s a good sign to see a lot of different guys running up front.”

Johnson also started slowly last year, entering Atlanta 14th in points. His experience tells him there’s no reason to be alarmed.

“Yes, last year we got off to a slow start, but it was more of a panic situation than what we have right now because we didn’t have the speed in the cars,” Johnson said. “This year it’s different. We’ve got fast cars but just haven’t linked together a solid [400] or 500 miles and taken advantage of the great cars that we’ve had.

“It’s only three races in. Guys are going to have bad luck and hopefully ours is behind us and we can climb up the points ladder here. I’m not worried. I’m not stressed. I’m really optimistic and excited about the next few races.”

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