Williams’ team woes continues in China

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Williams F1 Team have endured another difficult Friday practice today in preparation for the Chinese Grand Prix, as the team and its drivers continue to struggle with the FW35 car.

“I feel we have moved a little bit forward since Malaysia,” explained Valtteri Bottas in a team statement. “We’ll see tomorrow where we are compared to the others in qualifying set-up. We need to work hard to maximize what we have here.”

Bottas finished eleventh in the Malaysian Grand Prix, which currently stands as the team’s best result in 2013. His teammate, Pastor Maldonado, has failed to finish a race so far this season, and the Venezuelan was far from pleased with his Friday running.

“We will see tomorrow in qualifying what steps we have made as it’s too early to say. The car felt like we had made some improvements during FP1, but we struggled this afternoon so we need to analyse the data to see how best to move forward.”

Furthering the drivers’ complaints, technical director Mike Coughlan said that he was not expecting an improvement in fortunes on Saturday.

“Long run tyre degradation looks like it will make things difficult in the race, but we’ll look at the data tonight to see what we can do. We feel we are moving in the right direction but there is still a long way to go and we now need to bring performance.”

It would seem that a realistic target for the team would be to make it into Q2 on Saturday, and perhaps challenge for the small points in the race on Sunday. If they can break their duck, it will certainly settle any nerves ahead of the European season.

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.