BUZZING
Mar 20

MotoGP: Aleix Espargaro Sets Pace As Action Commences In Qatar

Aleix Espargaro rounds the bend during first practice at Losail International Circuit. (Photo: Getty Images)

Aleix Espargaro rounds the bend during first practice at Losail International Circuit. (Photo: Getty Images)

Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) set the pace in the opening FP1 session of the year for the premier class in Qatar, with Alvaro Baustista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) second and third respectively.

In the first Grand Prix practice session of the new ‘Open’ class era it was Espargaro in P1 with his Open entry Forward Yamaha with a 1:55.201 best lap, with Bautista 0.466s behind him. Espargaro’s pace was over 0.3s slower than he went in testing here two weeks ago.

Mar 20

Marquez under pressure and pain

Marc Marquez was 1.5 seconds off the top time in opening free practice at Qatar. (Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)

Marc Marquez was 1.5 seconds off the top time in opening free practice at Qatar. (Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)

The pressure is building on rookie record breaker Marc Marquez to become the first rider in five years to successfully defend the MotoGP world championship — and a pain-filled start to his campaign is not helping.

Marquez, 21, was an uncomfortable 11th fastest in the opening practice session for Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix, slowed by pain as he recovers from a broken leg suffered six weeks ago.

Mar 20

Congratulations flow in for Hildebrand on Indy 500 ride

JR Hildebrand in his National Guard attire during the 2011 IndyCar season. (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

J.R. Hildebrand in his National Guard attire during the 2011 IndyCar season. (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

News broke Thursday afternoon that J.R. Hildebrand will compete in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 in the No. 21 car fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

Hildebrand has competed against Ed Carpenter on the track before, but now, with the 2009 Indy Lights Championship and the 2011 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year to his name, Hildebrand’s resume has proven strong enough to land him a ride with a solid team again.

Mar 20

No new driver era in F1, says Hamilton

2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton during the Australian GP weekend. (Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton during the Australian GP weekend. (Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton has baulked at claims that a new guard is sweeping into power in Formula 1.

After the V6 era kicked off in Melbourne, podium debutant Kevin Magnussen was hailed as McLaren’s ‘new Hamilton,’ while fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat stood out as the next Red Bull-fueled talent in the Sebastian Vettel-like mould.

Mar 20

RBR presses on with Ricciardo appeal

Daniel Ricciardo finished second in the opening F1 race of the season, before the FIA disqualified him due to a fuel infraction. (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Daniel Ricciardo finished second in the opening F1 race of the season, but was disqualified by the stewards due to a fuel flow violation. (Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Red Bull Racing has confirmed its intention to press ahead with its appeal against the exclusion of Daniel Ricciardo from the Australian GP.

Sometimes teams go through the motions of appealing in order to buy time on the Sunday night of a GP weekend, and then, on consideration of the facts and the chances of success, decide not to press ahead. Therefore, it’s clear that RBR is confident that it has a good case.