Sebastian Vettel swept all before him to win his eighth race in a row but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Red Bull driver.
Concern about the rate his tires were wearing led Red Bull to bring him into the pits earlier than several of his rivals for his sole pit stop of the race.
“The last couple of laps on the softs I was struggling because I running into traffic and the tires were falling off,” Vettel explained, “so we were actually the first to come in this time, despite the big gap.”
“But then the hards seem to last very, very well in the end. We had very strong pace.”
Vettel had a lead of almost ten seconds after his first pit stop so he could afford to take it easy in the closing stages.
“I think I went a little bit wide once or twice into turn 12 under braking but other than that, I obviously tried as well to keep it on the line,” he said. “It is a little bit easier if you have a ten second gap to the car behind to not necessarily use all the curbs here and there, to manage the tires a little bit better.”
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.