Valentino Rossi believes Marc Marquez gets more credit for dominating MotoGP than he did in his prime.Marquez’s 10-race winning streak ended in Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix, where the Honda rider could only finish fourth behind Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi.In his Honda years, Rossi won 31 out of 48 races as he notched up his first three top-class championships in 2001-03.The seven-time MotoGP champion thinks Marquez’s achievements receive more media praise than his ever did.”The biggest difference between my period and Marc’s period is that when I won in 2001-03 with the Honda, not everybody but a lot of people – especially the journalists – said that I won because I had the best bike,” said Rossi.”Now with Marc, racing with Honda, he’s won a lot of races, but it’s said that he made the difference.”I don’t know why there’s this difference between me and him, for me it’s difficult to understand.”‘BIAGGI COMPLAINED’Rossi suggested that the quality and attitude of Marquez’s current opposition is a factor.”Maybe it’s the rivals, because we are better rivals than what I had,” he said.”We never complain about our bikes, more or less.”Whereas in the past especially [Max] Biaggi complained that I beat him because I had the best bike. It was funny…”But in the end I changed bike and I also won with Yamaha, and then [it was said that] I won because I didn’t have rivals… It was never ending.”You cannot say anything [bad] to Marc because he won 10 races.
Single-seater powerhouses Carlin and Fortec will run cars in MSA Formula next season.The Mygale-Ford the new FIA-backed British championship will use next year was officially unveiled last weekend at Silverstone, where the cars were made available to order for the first time.Trevor Carlin, whose eponymous team runs cars in GP2 and GP3 as well as British and European Formula 3, was present at the launch, while Fortec had a representative in attendance while team boss Richard Dutton was at the Paul Ricard World Series by Renault round.”I’d hope that we would run four cars,” Carlin told AUTOSPORT.”We have an awful lot of drivers come to us in F3 totally unprepared. If we start teaching them, when they get to F3 they are ready to drive and if they like us we can take them all the way.”Fortec ran three cars in British F3 this year and one in Formula Renault BARC, but with concerns over both categories’ futures Dutton said it was important to strengthen its domestic presence again.”We’ve got nothing really going on in Britain and I really think it’s going to be a strong package,” he said.”I think it’s going to attract a lot of young talent.
Alex Brundle claimed pole position on the debut of OAK Racing’s Ligier LMP2 in the United SportsCar Championship at Austin.Brundle notched up his second USC pole of the season with the HPD-engined Ligier JSP2 by more than eight tenths of a second.His time of 1m57.809s compared with the 1m58.643s of second-placed Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Chevrolet Corvette DP.Brundle said: “We were struggling in FP1; we had a problems early on with the turbos and the downshift.”But I was impressed with the way OAK and HPD have worked, especially since this is the first time that we have run the car on the Continental tyre.”Third place went to Memo Rojas in the Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford with a 1m58.928sJoao Barbosa was fourth fastest in the Action Express Coyote-Chevrolet Corvette DP on a 1m59.072s.VIPER ELEVATED TO GT POLEGT Le Mans honours were initially taken by Patrick Pilet in the additional Porsche 911 RSR entered for this event in the German manufacturer’s bid to retain its lead in the manufacturers’ points.Pilet, who shares the car with Frederic Makowiecki, claimed the class pole with a 2m03.302s until the car lost its time because it was not running the mandatory roof-mounted camera pod.The promoted the best of the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs driven by Jonathan Bomarito, who set a 2m03.539s, to the top of the GTLM pack.The regular Porsche USC entries from the factory CORE Autosport squad ended up second and third respectively in the hands of Nick Tandy and Patrick Long.8Star driver Sean Rayhall was over half a second clear of nearest rival Colin Braun in the Prototype Challenge class for the one-make ORECA-Chevrolet.Qualifying honours in GT Daytona went for the third race in a row to Australian James Davison in The Racers Group Aston Martin V12 Vantage.
Honda is likely to continue with current works squad Team Dynamics if its 2015 British Touring Car Championship plans come to fruition.The Japanese firm, which has taken the last three BTCC drivers’ and four manufacturers’ titles, has yet to confirm its 2015 BTCC programme.But Honda UK MD Philip Crossman says the target is to carry on in the championship.”It’s a great series to be in,” Crossman told AUTOSPORT.
British manufacturer Ginetta will build cars for the cost-capped LMP3 formula set to be introduced next season.Marque chief Lawrence Tomlinson has purchased the Juno Racing Cars firm set up by ex-Williams Formula 1 employee Ewan Baldry, who has joined Ginetta as its new technical director as part of the takeover.The sports-prototype and Formula Ford constructor’s existing operations have already been relocated to Ginetta’s Yorkshire base, where the 420bhp ORECA-powered Ginetta-Juno LMP3 will be built.Further details of the car will be announced when the Automobile Club de l’Ouest finalises its engine and gearbox configurations, with mandatory composite monocoques the only current confirmation.It is hoped that as many as six Ginetta-Junos will be built for next year, when LMP3 will replace the unsuccessful single-make LMPC class in the European and Asian Le Mans Series.LMP3s will be capped at €195,000 (£154,000) as part of the organiser’s plan for an LMP2 feeder category, with a target budget of £300,000 for a five-round ELMS campaign.”It’s fantastic, I really like Ewan – which I think is important – and there’s some fantastic synergy between the two companies,” Tomlinson, who drove Ginetta’s last LMP at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2009 and also won the GT2 class in the 2006 edition of the French enduro, told AUTOSPORT.”We’re no stranger to prototypes. This is an opportunity for us to go back into that area and is similar to what we’ve done in other categories – what the ACO wanted to do is exactly what we’re doing. It’s a perfect fit.”Baldry had targeted an independent LMP3 effort for Juno at the start of year alongside building carbon FIA CN prototypes.He said the deal would allow him to concentrate on both the new car’s design and managing Ginetta’s day-to-day technical responsibilities.”We’d been looking at moving up the ladder but Juno has always struggled a little bit for resources,” Baldry explained.
Formula Renault 3.5 driver Jazeman Jaafar will race alongside 2013 winners Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Gotz at next weekend’s Spa 24 Hours, the HTP Mercedes team has confirmed.The Malaysian driver, who is backed by Mercedes Formula 1 sponsor Petronas, has taken the vacant drive in HTP’s additional Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG entered for the Blancpain Endurance Series event on July 26/27 after an impressive test at the official test day earlier this month.Team boss Norbert Bruckner said: “We have had Jazeman for a long time in our mind; it was only natural for us to invite him to the official tests at Spa.”He convinced our engineers immediately by his enormous base speed and we agreed that Jazeman is a good choice for our team.”Jaafar, who will be making is sportscar debut at Spa, said that he was “looking forward to the great opportunity that is offered to me by HTP”.Dutchman Xavier Maassen, a race winner in the defunct FIA GT1 World Championship, has taken the place of Lucas Wolf alongside Stef Dusseldorp and Sergei Afanasiev in the team’s #85 Mercedes.The line-up of Bernd Schneider, who partnered Buhk and Gotz to victory last year, Harold Primat and Nico Verdonck in the #84 HTP Mercedes remains unchanged.Audi driver Marc Basseng, who is racing with the WRT in the other four rounds of the BES, has been placed with the Czech ISR team for Spa.The German will race alongside Filip Salaquarda and Fabian Hamprecht, regulars in the Blancpain Sprint Series and ADAC GT Masters respectively, aboard the BES debutant’s Audi R8 LMS ultra.Touring car and sportscar stalwart Vincent Radermecker has joined WRT’s entry in the Gentlemen Trophy class, while European Le Mans Series driver Leo Machitski has been added to the line-up in Team Parker Racing’s Audi entered in the same class.British GT Championship frontrunner Tom Onslow-Cole will race the Aston Martin Racing-run PFG Kinfaun V12 Vantage alongside a line-up including AMR boss John Gaw.
Kevin Harvick claimed his sixth pole position of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season in qualifying for Sunday’s Atlanta Motor Speedway night race.Amid the focus on the return of Harvick’s boss and team-mate Tony Stewart to competition three weeks after his involvement in the sprint car incident in which Kevin Ward Jr died, Harvick breezed to the top spot in final qualifying with a lap of 29.118 seconds in his Stewart-Haas Chevrolet.Stewart himself made it through to the pole shootout and took 12th on the grid for his first race back.Brad Keselowski had to settle for second for Penske, 0.029s down on Harvick, while the 2012 champion’s team-mate Joey Logano couldn’t make it into the pole shootout for once and starts 14th.With only two races until the Chase field is set, four drivers yet to take an all-important win this season filled rows two and three.Rookie Kyle Larson got within 0.079s of another pole in his Ganassi Chevrolet as he claimed third, followed by Ryan Newman, Q2 pacesetter Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.Kenseth’s points tally – which would place him fifth in a standard championship at present – is ample enough to get him into the Chase regardless of who wins at Atlanta and Richmond, while Newman currently holds the second points-based slot among the 16 Chase contenders, narrowly ahead of Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle.Larson is fighting to inch back into the Chase cut-off following his costly crash at Michigan, but Truex’s only hope of making the title race is to take his first win for Furniture Row in the next week.Aric Almirola was quickest in opening qualifying and will share row four with Kyle Busch.They start ahead of Hendrick’s lead contenders Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, with neither Jimmie Johnson nor Dale Earnhardt Jr too concerned to be 16th and 20th on the grid respectively.Nationwide frontrunner Ty Dillon – brother of Cup rookie Austin – is making his top-division debut in a fourth entry for his grandfather Richard Childress’s team this weekend. The 22-year-old qualified 29th.Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1.
Former Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier hailed the new Dallara IL-15 Lights car after putting it through its paces in its first public test at Mid-Ohio on Monday.The Frenchman, who won the Lights title in 2012 and raced in IndyCar with Sam Schmidt Motorsports last season, completed a total of 85 trouble-free laps in the AER turbo-powered car, setting a fastest lap of 1m13.4s that was around 0.5 seconds faster than Jack Harvey’s pole time in the current car at the same track on Saturday.”The car is a lot of fun to drive. It’s a blast. Everything about it is better than the old car,” said Vautier.”It’s a proper car that prepares drivers better for IndyCar as well
Matt Rao kept his slender championship hopes alive with a dominant victory in the second British Formula 3 race at Donington Park.Rao didn’t repeat his poor race one start as he drew alongside reversed-grid poleman Camren Kaminsky through Redgate. He could not find a way past there but further round the lap both he and Fortec team-mate Martin Cao got ahead of the American.Rao proceeded to eke out a gap over his title rival, while Max Marshall was forced into the pits with a flat front-right tyre after contact when battling with his Double R team-mate Kaminsky.Marshall used his fresh rubber to good effect and wrestled the fastest lap away from Rao at mid-distance. But the leader retaliated shortly after to ensure he could take every point possible from the race.Rao was untroubled for the remainder and eventually won by almost 18 seconds from points leader Cao.Rao still faces an uphill challenge to claim the title with him needing to win the finale with Cao not finishing.Behind the title protagonists, Peter Li stayed within a second of Kaminsky throughout but was unable to mount a challenge and had to settle for fourth, with Marshall a lonely fifth some 26 seconds behind the Carlin driver.PosDriverTeamCarLapsGap1Matt RaoFortec MotorsportsDallara/Mercedes21-2Martin CaoFortec MotorsportsDallara/Mercedes2117.891s3Camren KaminskyDouble R RacingDallara/Mercedes2122.561s4Zhi Cong LiCarlinDallara/Volkswagen2123.522s5Max MarshallDouble R RacingDallara/Mercedes2149.778s
James Hinchcliffe continued to set the pace in IndyCar practice at Milwaukee, although the Andretti driver was a spectator for the end of the second session due to a crash.Hinchcliffe had established himself at the top of the timesheets early on with a 165.667mph average (22.0569s); just a fraction faster than his session-leading time from the morning.His time remained unbeaten once again, however the Andretti team faces a busy couple of hours repairing his car for qualifying after he lost control of the rear and slid into the wall at Turn 2.The accident brought out the third caution of the session, although an extra five minutes of green flag time was tagged on at the end.Few drivers managed to improve their times after the final restart, leaving Ed Carpenter second-fastest at a 164.996mph average (22.1500s) and Tony Kanaan third.Mikhail Aleshin and Josef Newgarden completed the top five; Newgarden having rebounded after triggering the first caution of the afternoon when his Sarah Fisher Hartman car came to a stop.The remaining stoppage, which came mid-way through the session, was for a track inspection.Pos Driver Team/Engine Time Gap 1. James Hinchcliffe Andretti/Honda 22.0549s 2. Ed Carpenter Carpenter/Chevy 22.1500s +0.0951s 3