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Jimmie Johnson won’t race full time in 2023; leaves open possibility of returning at Ganassi Jack Miller wins MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his points slide

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While he remains unsure about his plans for next year, Jimmie Johnson will not be racing full-time in 2023, having cut his schedule after competing in the full 17-race NTT IndyCar Series season.

“It was a difficult choice for me, but deep down I know it was the right choice,” Johnson said in a statement Monday morning. “I’m not entirely sure what’s in the next chapter, but if an opportunity presents itself that makes sense, I’ll consider it. I still have a list of races that I would like to take part in. Competing at this level in IndyCar was a great experience for me.

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“I couldn’t ask for a better racing team than Chip Ganassi and Chip Ganassi Racing. In the last two seasons, everyone has worked very hard to get the best results from me every week. The support from my team and teammates Dario (Franchitti), Scott (Dixon), Tony (Canaan), Marcus (Eriksson) and Alex (Palou) was beyond anything I could ever ask for.”

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WHAT’S NEXT FOR JIMMY JOHNSON: Analysis of his racing options for the 2023 season.

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Driving the No. 48 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing, Johnson finished 21st in the 2022 points standings with a career-best fifth on July 24 at Iowa Speedway.

After driving only road and street circuits in 2021, the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion added ovals this year. In his Indy 500 debut, he qualified 12th and finished 28th after a late crash.

“I have a desire to return (to IndyCar), it’s just that at the moment I know what it takes for a full schedule, and I don’t have it,” Johnson told AP. “I don’t have the passion I need for myself to dedicate myself to a full season.”

This leaves open the question of Johnson returning part-time with Ganassi, perhaps exclusively on the ovals.

“We fully support Jimmy,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “He was a valuable member of our team and if we can find a way to continue working together, we would like to.”

During the weekend of the final race of the IndyCar season, Johnson told reporters Sept. 9 that he plans to explore options with wife Chandra and daughters Evie and Lydia. Johnson told The Associated Press that his family is considering living abroad for a year or twoand he mulled over the idea of ​​competing in the World Endurance Championship due to its international presence.

Johnson did not rule out the use of sports cars IndyCar and IMSA or even a cameo in NASCAR next year. After retiring from NASCAR full-time after the 2020 season, he competed in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance racing in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac (including Saturday’s Petit Le Mans season finale). Johnson also wants to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and is a prime candidate for Garage 56 (a joint venture between NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports).

Johnson told AP he’s interested in being the last rider to try the Double and run the Coca-Cola 600 and Indy 500 on the same day (the last being Kurt Busch in 2014).

“You know me and endurance sports, and The Double sounds amazing,” Johnson, a four-time Coke 600 winner, told AP. “I have always respected the guys who made The Double. I’d say it’s more respect than a wish list item and I’d like to put some energy into this idea and see if I can make it happen.”

It is unlikely to return to IMSA endurance racing because its top-of-the-line prototype series is under overhaul, limiting the amount of inventory available for new LMDh vehicles in the rebranded GTP division.

Johnson confirmed that he would leave the main sponsor Carvana, which has supported him in IndyCar for the past two years. He announced his decision on Monday during the last episode of “Reinventing the Wheel”, An eight-part documentary series by Carvana Racing about its 2023 season.

“I am grateful to partner with a company like Carvana for letting me go on this journey in IndyCar, for seeing the value of our partnership and for being open to future opportunities together,” Johnson said. “They really showed me that there is no finish line in life. Along with Carvana, The American Legion, Ally, cbdMD and Frank August have been there every step of the way and I couldn’t have made it without them all. Most importantly – and the real rock stars in all of this – are my family, Chani, Evie and Lydia. They have always let me pursue my dreams and we are all very excited about what the future holds for all of us. I have enjoyed every minute of these past two years.”

Carvana co-founder Ryan Keaton said: “The last two years with Jimmie Johnson have been so great to work with. Our team admires his enthusiasm, hard work and commitment to continuous improvement and fun, and we look forward to continuing to support him next year in this new chapter.”

Jack Miller escapes MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi how Fabio Quartararo stopped his descent in the championship when a last lap crash with his closest rival in the standings left Francesco Bagnaia to zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly pushed his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. Around later, he took the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller showed three fast laps in a row and never ran into serious problems. It was the Australian native Miller’s first win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

Proximity to his home territory was not lost.

“Sometimes I can ride a motorcycle,” Miller told NBC Sports after the race. “I’ve been feeling amazing all weekend since I rolled out in my first practice. It’s so great to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. This is amazing; soon we will have a home Grand Prix. The wedding is in a couple of weeks. I’m in seventh heaven with happiness; I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller was 3.4 seconds ahead of Brad Binder, with third place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was immediately in the top ten, as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was outside the third row in ninth place, with Bagnaia one row back in 12th. Neither driver moved up significantly, but the championship was still paramount as Bagnaya applied a patented late race charge to land on Quartararo’s rear tire, which would only allow the championship leader to score one point.

On the last lap, Bagnaya rushed too hard and crashed under heavy braking, losing seven points that he would have earned in ninth place.

The day was even more dramatic for the driver, who entered the Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix third in the standings. On the control lap, Alex Espargaro sounded the alarm, so he slid into the pits, abandoned his main bike and jumped on the spare. Starting from the pit lane, he trudged across the field and could not get into the glasses. The culprit was an undisclosed electronics problem.

For Quartararo, eight points in the competition was more than a moral victory. It was a track where he expected to run moderately and he did, but the problems of his opponents forced him to focus again on the remaining four rounds.

The series will travel to Thailand next week and then to Miller’s home circuit at Phillip Island in Australia. They will close part of the Pacific Rim schedule before heading to Spain for the final in early November.

Team orders don’t seem to play a role among Ducati racers. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini launched an aggressive attack on Bagnaia for the position before the championship contender regained the spot.

In his second race after hand surgery, Marc Marquez took pole. His last pole position was over 1,000 days ago at the same circuit in 2019, when the series last competed at Motegi. Márquez dropped to fifth midway through the race before reclaiming his position and finishing just behind the podium.

In the Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez and reduced the gap in this championship to two points. Fernandez holds a slight advantage. Alonso Lopez closed the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts, finished just outside the top ten, finishing 11th and 12th respectively.



Source: motorsports.nbcsports.com

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