F1 flashback: Michael Schumacher’s first win

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Today marks the 21st anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s first win in Formula One, marking the beginning of a glittering career that would see him become – statistically speaking – the greatest driver in the history of the sport.

Schumacher made his debut for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, starting seventh on the grid before retiring early on. However, the German driver made such an impact that he was immediately snapped up by Benetton, going on to score four points in his opening six races for the team. His form improved during his first full season with the team, coming to fruition at Spa-Francorchamps – the location of his debut, his first win and his 300th grand prix in 2012 – on this day in 1992.

In the Camel-liveried Benetton, Schumacher had qualified an excellent third on the grid behind Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna. However, he initially failed to put up a challenge to the dominant Williams of Mansell, who had secured the drivers’ championship at the previous race. Come lap thirty, Schumacher was fourth and did not look capable on winning the race as rain came and went frequently. Eventually, he made the decision to pit for slick tires whilst the rest of the field was on wets as the leaders bided their time. This turned out to be a fatal decision for previous-leader Mansell, who came out behind Schumacher when he eventually made the switch. The Williams then suffered from an exhaust failure that caused Mansell a loss of power, allowing Schumacher to pull away and claim his first win in Formula One.

It was indeed the first of many. Schumacher went on to win 91 grands prix and seven world championships before eventually retiring from motor racing at the end of last season, having spent a somewhat unsuccessful spell with Mercedes between 2010 and 2012 that yielded just one podium.

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.