Maldonado relishing return to Monaco

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Pastor Maldonado has high hopes about his return to Monaco for this weekend’s grand prix.

Maldonado has a strong record on the demanding Monte-Carlo street track from his junior career. He has not scored there in his two previous F1 visits, though he came close in 2011 before a controversial collision with Lewis Hamilton.

“I have always been very competitive at Monaco, doing well there in GP2, so I always look forward to this race as I feel very comfortable driving the circuit,” said Maldonado.

“You can also feel the history of Formula One as you drive through the streets and tackle some of the really famous corners.

Although F1 has seen a lot of changes of position during recent races, Maldonado expects qualifying will be of far greater importance in Monaco:

“Qualifying will be very important at this race and is probably 70% of the weekend because overtaking is so difficult and risky,” he explained.

“Tire strategy and tire management is important as you always use the softer compound of tires in Monaco and they are very sensitive this year.”

Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas is making his first appearance at the circuit. “It’s definitely the most challenging race on the calendar for the drivers, being an old school street circuit with no room for mistakes,” he said.

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.