Supercars Perth Supernight- DJR/Penske Disco
Last year, the Supercars revived ATCC night racing in Australia to reasonable success at Sydney Motorsport Park, but this year it was revved up to another level, moving over to the shorter Barbagallo, with the event reformatted to consist of a 120km race on Friday night, and a 200km race on Saturday night, up against an Eagles game.
All in all, I reckon everyone involved- Supercars & the WA Government would be prepared to call it at the very least an improvement on last year, especially going up against a West Coast game on a Saturday evening- Few have lived to tell that tale.
Race 11- Coulthard goes back to back
The goalposts may have once again been shifted to try and stop the Mustangs- this time by narrowing their rear wings- but the Blue Oval’s prancing Pony is still a brutal machine.
It was yet another DJR Penske front row, with Scotty McLaughlin on pole and his faithful Kiwi counterpart alongside him, and at the start, it was Coulthard who beat out the slow starting McLaughlin, with Shane Van Gisbergen and Chas Mostert pushing him from pole to 4th by the opening corner.
Ultimately, in a race that was an uninterrupted run to the flag, McLaughlin got past Mostert and the DJR brains trust got him past Whincup in the pits and back fighting Coulthard, but that was exactly how it finished.
Coulthard won well from McLaughlin as the DJR Penske machines thumped their opposition, with Mostert in 3rd from Jamie Whincup and the Giz to complete another All-Mustang podium, with all 6 Ponys ending up in the Top 10.
Race 12- Shuper Shcott!
McLaughlin once again started on pole for this 83 lap dash, but he was once again beaten into Turn One, this time by Whincup, who led the first half of the race with McLaughlin tucked in behind.
Ultimately, it was another excellent piece of strategy that got McLaughlin ahead of the Red Bull, as they went for the early stop and got Scotty back out in clean air, and he quickly reeled in the effective gap to Whincup and flew past once Jamie came in on Lap 30.
McLaughlin got ahead of the Red Bull thanks to the undercut, and after Scotty Pye clashed with Andre Heimgartner and brought out the safety car with 36 laps to go, every driver got a free pit stop, and wiped away any disadvantage from stopping early.
He was never troubled after that and missed the commotion behind, namely Rick Kelly scooting into the infield on the restart, to win by 1.9 seconds to Whincup, with Cam Waters beating out Coulthard for 3rd place, meaning Scotty leads the Championship by 142 points to his teammate.
All in all, night racing is definitely gaining momentum again!
Spanish MotoGP- A dirty day out for the Aussies
On a historical note, this Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez was a grim one for us Australians, as it marked 20 years since Mick Doohan’s career was ended by a broken leg suffered in a horror crash in Qualifying.
And two decades on, it’s the offspring of Australian 500cc World Champions who are being hurt in accidents.
MotoGP- Jackass his own worst enemy
Coming off the podium in Austin, our own wild colonial boy Jack Miller had a stinker in qualifying, being knocked out in opening qualifying to start from 15th, while it was the same story for Valentino Rossi, who could only qualify 13th on his Yamaha.
At the front of the grid, the satellite Yamaha of Fabio Quartararo was a surprise polesitter, becoming the youngest in the history of 500cc/MotoGP racing, beating Marc Marquez’ record from 2013 by just over a month (20 years, 14 days versus 20 years and 63 days), with his SRT Yamaha teammate Franco Morbidelli alongside him, and Marquez in 3rd.
At the start, Marquez beat out the Frenchman and Morbidelli to hit the lead, while and that was how it stayed until the middle stages, with Miller climbing up to 9th place and holding Rossi behind him for most of the race, but as the laps and tyre grip wore down, The Doctor just sat behind and patiently waited to strike.
Out in front, it was joy to horror in 24 hours for the Quartararo, as he became stuck in 3rd gear on Lap 14 due to a gearbox failure, causing his retirement from 2nd place and leaving him balling his eyes out in the garage.
While Marquez was out in front, Rossi flew past Miller, who was now slipping and in a fight to hold 9th against Aleix Espagro on Aprilia, who muscled his way past, and Miller attempted to take back 9th place on the final corner of Lap 23, but with a lack of front end grip, he couldn’t control the bike and slid out, almost taking Espargaro with him, ending what was a weekend to forget.
Maruqez ultimately won the race comfortably from Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales, to reclaim the lead of the championship by a solitary point.
Moto2- Literally, one to forget for Remy
Remy Gardner qualified in a solid 4th for the 15-lap Moto2 race, and he made a decent start, moving into 3rd after the opening corner, but only moments later, his Kalex snapped sideways in a fight with Alex Marquez, sending Remy on a highside with a raging field coming at him.
Marquez went off, with his bike possibly hitting Gardner’s body, while Ekky Pratama fared the worst of any rider, clouting Gardner’s stranded bike and dismounting himself at speed, sending his body sliding into the KTM of Marco Bezzecchi as the Italian rounded Turn 2, causing a rather ugly incident.
As expected, the race caused a red flag, with Gardner and Pratama (On a stretcher) both conscious and taken to the medical centre, where Gardner was diagnosed with a concussion, and unable to take part in the restart- A big shame, especially after he qualified so well.
In the shortened race, championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri started from pole and racked up yet another win in 2019, beating out the locals Jorge Navarro and Augusto Fernandez.