Drivers would welcome return of in-season testing

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As the tiregate furore continues to escalate, with Mercedes and Pirelli awaiting a date with the FIA tribunal in the next six weeks, three of the current field have given their support to a return to in-season testing, believing that simulator work does not have the same impact as getting out on the track.

When asked in the drivers’ press conference about in-season testing, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and Giedo van der Garde all supported its return.

“It would be welcomed, definitely,” Massa explained. “A simulator is always what we have, to try to understand something, but it’s always a simulator so when you are in the real situation on the track, you definitely understand a lot better so it would be welcome.”

Ferrari made good use of in-season testing during their ‘golden years’ of 2000-2004, using their private track at Fiorano. The ban on in-season testing was intended to prevent an imbalance between the teams, but it appears that drivers from both ends of the grid would be interested in extra running.

Monaco GP winner Nico Rosberg backed Massa’s sentiments, saying: “Just as Felipe said, it’s so difficult to get the simulator one hundred percent realistic so there are always several things that are better when you test the real car, more accurate.”

“I think it’s also good for a rookie to have more track time, of course.” Caterham’s van der Garde said.

The FIA is yet to comment on a potential return to in-season testing, but with the financial state of the sport apparently improving, it may become a viable option once again.

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.