Raikkonen’s record-breaking streak ends at Spa

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Kimi Raikkonen’s record-breaking streak of consecutive finishes in the points came to a shattering end in Belgium today after the Finn was forced to retire on lap twenty of the race due to a brake failure.

The Lotus driver had started the race in eighth place following a wet qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday, and he soon became embroiled in a battle with McLaren’s Jenson Button in the race. However, Raikkonen could not make a pass as he struggled with his front-left brake, which ultimately would be his downfall.

After making his first stop, Raikkonen attempted a pass on Felipe Massa heading into the Bus Stop chicane but went straight on due to the brake issue. Lotus elected to retire Raikkonen from the race moments later, bringing the Finn’s remarkable record run to an end.

Raikkonen’s scoring streak began at the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, and he has failed to finish outside of the top ten until today. At Monaco, a late run-in with Sergio Perez appeared to have put paid to his hopes of beating Michael Schumacher’s existing record of twenty-four races, but the Finn rallied to finish P10 come the checkered flag.

Furthermore, this marks Raikkonen’s first retirement from a grand prix in over four years, although he did not compete in the 2010 and 2011 championships. His last DNF came at the 2009 German Grand Prix when he was still driving for Ferrari.

However, Raikkonen has made clear in the past that the records mean very little to him. Instead, he will be disappointed that the gap to Sebastian Vettel at the top of the championship has widened to sixty-three points, especially as Spa is a track that he likes having won the Belgian GP four times.

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.