Fernando Alonso making recovery after crash; Joey Logano wins a dramatic Daytona 500; Colin Turkingon teams up with Jason Plato

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The Independent Online


Fernando Alonso was lucky to escape serious injury after a crash on the final day of the second pre-season test in Barcelona on Sunday. Alonso was emerging from the high-speed Turn Three when his McLaren-Honda veered right and collided with the barrier in a side-impact.

The 33-year-old was taken by ambulance to the Circuit de Catalunya medical centre, before being a airlifted to a local hospital for a CT and MRI scan. McLaren announced on Sunday night that Alonso had not suffered a serious injury, and confirmed that he would remain in hospital overnight “as a precaution” having suffered a concussion.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier dismissed reports that either an electric shock to Alonso or the Spaniard fainting at the wheel was to blame for the accident, and claimed that it was just a testing accident that has since been linked to the high winds in Barcelona that effected Sunday’s session. Certainly, Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr’s accident at the same corner was down to strong winds.


Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad tweeted a picture of Alonso from his hospital bed where he gave fans the thumbs up as well as thank them for their supportive messages.

However, it was four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel’s comments that proved the most eye-catching, having been following Alonso at the time of his accident. Vettel, who has replaced Alonso at Ferrari this season after leaving Red Bull, admitted that the crash was “strange” and that Alonso seemed to “turn right” before impact, which fuelled the flames that the crash may have had something to do with a mechanical failure or otherwise.

Alonso is transported from the medical centre at Catalunya to a helicopter

Alonso is yet to confirm whether he will drive in the third and final test – again in Barcelona – which begins this Thursday, with the Australian Grand Prix set to get the season underway on the weekend of 13-15 March.


Joey Logano secured a first Daytona 500 victory over his career on Sunday night as he held off the challenge of Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr to clinch a green-white-chequered finish that ended under caution.

Earnhardt Jr’s Hendrick Motorsport team-mate Jeff Gordon was the early pace-setter as he led from the start for 77 of the first 100 laps, but the last-lap wreck in the pack took the four-time champion out of the running in his final Daytona 500 start and he ended up finishing in 33rd position.

Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Daytona 500

In what was a dramatic and action-packed race that featured frequent three-wide running, the battle at the front rather petered out as Logano got the jump on the final restart following a seven-minute stoppage after the red flag came out with just two laps remaining. The gap he immediately built was enough to hold off the challenge of Harvick and Earnhardt Jr, who finished second and third respectively as the caution came back out on the final lap freezing the field as they were.


The MotoGP field encountered challenging conditions at the second pre-season test at Sepang as both boiling temperatures and heavy thunderstorms hit the Malaysian circuit on the first of four days of action.

The pre-season program got underway at Sepang three weeks ago, but the track was much more slippery on Monday as the conditions had a significant effect on the track. In the end it was Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi that set the fastest lap time as the Italian recorded a session-best of 2 min 00.414 secs to top the timesheet ahead of Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro, who just edged out his brother Aleix aboard the Suzuki.

Valentino Rossi set the pace on day one in Sepang

Jorge Lorenzo beat reigning champion Marc Marquez to fifth while British duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith finished in seventh and eighth, while Maverick Vinales managed to place the second Suzuki inside the top nine to show promise ahead of the manufacturer’s return to MotoGP action.

Meanwhile, the World Superbike Championship got underway in the early hours of Sunday morning in what was a double victory for British riders aiming to challenge for top honours this season.

Northern Irishman Jonathan Rea took race one victory on his Kawasaki as he emerged from a thrilling last-lap battle with Englishman Leon Haslam, Welshman Chaz Davies and Spain’s Jordi Torres. Haslam came home in second ahead of Davies, who beat Torres to the final rostrum position.

Cal Crutchlow has been getting to grips with his new LCR Honda in Sepang

In race two, it was a reverse finish as Haslam led home Rea to leave the two locked together on 45 points at the top of the championship standings, with Davies again coming home in fourth. 2013 world champion and last season’s runner-up Tom Sykes finished fourth, while defending champion Sylvain Guintoli didn’t enjoy the best of starts to his title defence as the Frenchman finished race one in seventh and race two in fifth.


An exciting driver line-up for the 2015 British Touring Car Championship was announced by Team BMR as defending champion Colin Turkington was confirmed alongside veteran driver Jason Plato.

2014 BTCC champion Colin Turkington will race for Team BMR

Both are two-time BTCC champions and finished top of the drivers’ championship in 2014, with Turkington seeing off Plato in the final round at Brands Hatch. They will line-up together in Team BMR’s Volkswagon CC alongside last year’s driver Aron Smith and team owner Warren Scott.

Jason Plato left MG to join Team BMR

The first round of the season takes place at Brands Hatch on the weekend of 04-05 of April, where Turkington will begin the defence of the title that he also won back in 2009.