Vergne equals best-ever F1 result with late charge

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Jean-Eric Vergne will be leaving Marina Bay with his head held high today after equalling his best-ever finish in Formula 1 in the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Toro Rosso driver is currently without a seat for 2015 after being told last month that he would be replaced by 16-year-old Max Verstappen at the team, but he did his chances of securing a drive a world of good by finishing sixth under the lights in Singapore.

Starting 11th, Vergne did well to fight his way up into the top ten at the start of the race, and looked set for points until a lengthy safety car period allowed the cars around him to stop for fresh tires. Vergne was left on super-softs, and unlike his rivals, had to make one more pit stop once the race restarted.

He eventually pitted with 14 laps to go, dropping down to 14th place behind the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson. However, with fresh tires, and with the cars ahead struggling for grip in the dying stages of the race, Vergne managed to move back up into the points.

The stewards soon gave him another setback, handing the Frenchman a five-second stop/go penalty for exceeding track limits. He made his feelings clear over the radio, crying: “What the f***!” before getting his head down and focusing on the race.

In a great final scrap for position in the last few laps, Vergne passed Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas to move up to sixth place. On the final lap of the race, he then created enough of a gap to make his five-second stop/go penalty redundant, thus equalling his best ever finish in F1 from the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix.

Given his position for 2015, this result could not have come at a better time for Jean-Eric Vergne. If he can continue to impress and pick up some more hauls of points, the Frenchman could be in line for a place on the grid in Australia next March.

In the sister Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat limped home in 14th position after becoming severely dehydrated towards the end of the race.

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.