Alonso reveals puncture scare

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Fernando Alonso’s victory in the Spanish Grand Prix was put in jeopardy by a late problem with one of his tires.

Alonso only revealed the problem after winning the race. It occurred during his fourth stint when he was running on medium tires and forced the team to change their strategy plan.

“We had to bring forward the final stop because of a slow puncture which meant the left rear tire was losing pressure in the final part of the lap,” said Alonso. “But fortunately, that had no effect on the final outcome.”

The Ferrari driver was under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen at the time but still finished over nine seconds clear of the Lotus. He said the tire failure was the only problem in an otherwise perfect race: “After a far from easy qualifying, everything went perfectly, the start, the strategy, pit stops, tire management.”

Alonso was one of several drivers to experience tire problems during the race weekend. Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a puncture during the race, though it occurred after contact with Nico Hulkenberg in the pits.

Like Alonso, Paul di Resta also had a left rear tire fail during practice, which has led Pirelli to consider revising the structure of their tires.

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.