Webber quickest on day one of final test

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On the first day of the final Formula One test in Barcelona, Mark Webber has managed to top the timesheets as Red Bull look to assert their dominance before the season begins.

Difficult weather conditions meant that times only became reliable towards the end of the session, and a red flag also delayed running after Felipe Massa stopped out on track. The rain meant that the teams were able to try out all compounds of Pirelli tire on offer in 2013, but before the track dried out it was Webber who led. Eventually, Massa moved onto the softer rubber, and the Ferrari driver set the first competitive times.

However, following the red flag, it was Webber and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton fighting for top spot. Both drivers went quickest at points, but a spin from Hamilton meant Webber finished the day 1.6 seconds clear.

The Australian driver expressed his satisfaction to his team following the session.

“We’ve still got more to come, but that was the most we could get done in a short limited programme in dry conditions at the end of the day.”

Behind Hamilton was Jean-Eric Vergne in third place, continuing Toro Rosso’s good testing form, and Valtteri Bottas impressed to end up fourth ahead of Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez respectively.

Paul di Resta, whose teammate was finally confirmed today, finished in seventh, with Felipe Massa eighth, although Ferrari will hope that he could have challenged Webber had it not been for the stoppage.

Marussia’s Max Chilton put the rumors surrounding his teammate to the back of his mind to finish ahead of Charles Pic. It would appear the Anglo-Russian team has the edge over Caterham in 2013. Romain Grosjean propped up the timesheets, twelve seconds off Webber’s time.

Although it is difficult to truly understand testing performance, Red Bull will undoubtedly be pleased with their pace in both the dry and wet in Barcelona today.

Unofficial Times

1. Mark Webber Red Bull – 1:22.693
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes – 1:24.348 +1.655
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:25.017 + 2.324
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 1:26.458 + 3.765
5. Sergio Perez McLaren – 1:26.538 +3.845
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:26.574 +3.881
7. Paul di Resta Force India – 1:27.107 +4.414
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari – 1:27.541 +4.848
9. Max Chilton Marussia – 1:28.166 +5.473
10. Charles Pic Caterham – 1:28.644 +5.951
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus – 1:34.928 +12.235

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.