Different goals for Lotus a year after double German podium

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A year ago, Lotus bagged a double podium at the German Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen was a hard-charging second with teammate Romain Grosjean just behind him at the Nurburgring.

A year later and much is different. Obviously the circuit is (it’s back to the Hockenheimring), one of the drivers is different (Pastor Maldonado in for Raikkonen), and the car has struggled to score points this season.

Grosjean estimated that the low-speed corners at the new Hockenheim will provide a good measure of how far the Lotus E22 Renault has improved.

“We’ve worked hard to improve performance in the low-speed corners, so Hockenheim will be a good test of how much we’ve progressed,” Grosjean said in the team’s pre-race advance. “Apart from the run down to the hairpin there are no real straights to speak about so power unit emphasis will be on acceleration rather than top speed.”

Added Maldonado, “There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us. The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.”

Both praised the stadium atmosphere at the track, even though they admitted the newer circuit (came into play in 2002) lacks much of the character of the previous one.

Lotus technical director Nick Chester hopes the team’s new front wing for this race will improve fortunes.

“Our development schedule is continuing at full pace,” he said. “We will have a new front wing, which is a decent improvement, a cooling upgrade and some smaller bodywork updates to increase downforce. Between what we have learnt in the Silverstone test and these upgrades, we hope to make a good step forward.”

With only Grosjean’s eight points on the board this year for the team, a double score would be a welcome surprise and an achievable goal.

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.