Romain Grosjean excited for the magic of Suzuka

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Romain Grosjean is relishing Formula 1’s return to the legendary Suzuka Circuit for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

2014 has not gone as the Frenchman would have liked it to, yielding just eight points thanks to the troublesome Lotus E22 car. However, he is hopeful of a better showing at Suzuka which allows the drivers to flourish and make up for car deficiencies.

“Suzuka is a track that highlights the good aspects of a chassis,” Grosjean explained. “I hope that we can be in a position where we have a realistic chance of some points positions.

“At Suzuka the driver can make a difference to some extent, especially through sector one, so I will be hugely pumped up to make sure we are in the best position possible to add to our points tally.”

Grosjean has not finished inside the top ten since the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, but he did come close to adding to his total last time out in Singapore before eventually crossing the line in 13th place.

Suzuka has been the site of many great races throughout the history of Formula 1, and Grosjean made no secret of his excitement for racing in Japan once again.

“It is the kind of track that you find time and improvements, however small, all of the time,” he said. “It is a very special race track in this respect. Sector one is unbelievable and after you have finished it you can breathe a little bit, but not for long.

“There is no margin for error with very little run-off area and the track is quite narrow, especially at the top of the hill. I love it. Every metre of the Suzuka track is special and every metre a challenge. The Spoon Curve is especially fantastic, a real thrill to drive in an F1 car.”

Grosjean finished third in last year’s race at Suzuka after running Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber very close for victory. Although such lofty heights are not possible in 2014, points would still be a welcome result for the plucky Frenchman.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.