Nico Rosberg has continued to tame the tricky conditions in Brazil after finishing fastest during the second free practice session for this weekend’s season-ending grand prix at Interlagos.
The German driver finished ahead of compatriot Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Mark Webber with a best time of 1:27.306, underlining Mercedes’ impressive pace in the damp conditions ahead of what looks set to be the first wet grand prix of the year on Sunday.
After wet weather meant that there was little meaningful running during the first practice session on Friday morning in Brazil, conditions failed to improve ahead of the second session later in the day. Once again, the wet and intermediate tires were required at Interlagos, meaning that Pirelli was forced to postpone the running of the prototype compound until Saturday morning.
A number of drivers were caught out in the wet conditions despite being on the correct tire, as Charles Pic and Lewis Hamilton both had spins. However, Nico Rosberg looked set to finish fastest once again as he had in the morning, but conditions improved drastically with a few minutes remaining. This saw the German driver battle with both Red Bull drivers for top spot as the track continually improved in grip, but Mark Webber’s charge was curtailed by a KERS failure, meaning that he had to settle for third place despite a late improvement. Sebastian Vettel also failed to better Rosberg’s time, resulting in his compatriot finishing fastest for the second time in practice for the race.
Heikki Kovalainen continued to impress ahead of his final race for Lotus by finishing in fourth place, whilst Jean-Eric Vergne bounced back from a disappointing result in FP1 to finish sixth for Toro Rosso.
The teams will be hoping for some dry running on Saturday morning in order to evaluate their pace in the dry, but with rain set to hit Interlagos for the race on Sunday, it could prove to be meaningless.
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.