American racer Alexander Rossi has claimed the final pole position of the GP2 season as his bid for a Formula One seat continues to gather steam.
Rossi has enjoyed a successful season in the support series to Formula One, scoring three podiums and a number of other top ten finishes to leave himself eleventh in the championship heading to the final two races in Abu Dhabi, whilst teammate Sergio Canamasas has scored just two points all year long. Besides this, Rossi has also been working as Caterham’s reserve driver in F1, earning himself a run-out in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this year, and he is expected to do the same in front of his home fans at Austin later this month.
Under the lights in Abu Dhabi, Rossi was highly impressive at the wheel of the Caterham Racing car, but it was initially not enough for him to secure his first pole position of the season as Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson edged him out by just 0.007 seconds.
However, Ericsson’s best time was deleted by the stewards at the end of the session after he was deemed to have “exceeded track limits” on his lap, meaning that he will start down in twelfth place. As a result though, Rossi is promoted to pole position after finishing three-tenths clear of second-placed Sam Bird.
Bird, who also works as Mercedes’ reserve driver, is set to go head-to-head with fourth-placed Fabio Leimer for the title this weekend in the two races that will support the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The added twist in GP2 is that the top eight in the first race have their positions reversed for the second race.
Rossi will now be hoping to close out his first season in GP2 with a win. This weekend also sees the final two races in the GP3 championship where future Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is looking to clinch the title.
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.