Sebastian Vettel has conceded that there is room for improvement after finishing second in both practice sessions ahead of the Korean Grand Prix this weekend.
Vettel has dominated the past three grands prix, winning the last race in Singapore by over half a minute. Therefore, finishing second to Lewis Hamilton in both FP1 and FP2 came as something of a surprise, and the German driver admitted that there was still some time to be found.
“There is some room for improvement,” Vettel said. “It will be close with Mercedes; of course we’re not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying.”
Red Bull and Mercedes locked out the top four positions in both sessions on Friday as Ferrari and Lotus struggled to put up any sort of challenge. In the second practice session, less than two-tenths covered Hamilton, Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber. For Webber, his challenge will be even greater thanks to a ten-place grid penalty he received in Singapore for picking up three reprimands for the stewards.
“We need to work on the balance,” Webber said. “It’s more about understanding the tires again and getting those working as well as possible. We need to work on both the short and long run balance, as obviously I’m going to be out of position after qualifying.”
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.