Caterham’s return in Abu Dhabi fails to produce a big result

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ABU DHABI – Caterham’s return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix failed to produce a big result, but simply getting to the finish line at Yas Marina Circuit was a considerable achievement for the team at the end of a tough year.

After entering administration after the Russian Grand Prix, Caterham failed to race in the United States and Brazil, but made a sensational and surprising return in Abu Dhabi when enough fresh investment was found following a crowdfunding project.

Chief adminstrator Finbarr O’Connell was at Yas Marina all weekend in full Caterham gear, effectively taking up the role of team principal as he tries to find a new buyer for the operation.

Any hopes of moving above Marussia, which folded earlier this month, in the constructors’ championship were dashed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, though, as Kamui Kobayashi retired from the race on lap 42.

However, F1 debutant Will Stevens did see the flag, which must be noted as a considerable achievement in light of the team’s struggles in recent months.

“We completed the objective of the day, and that was to finish the race, which is good not only for me but also for the team – we can be pleased,” Stevens said. “I struggled quite a bit during my first stint on the option tire, trying to keep it up to temperature at the start during the formation lap, so I had a lot of graining on the front.

“But the middle stint wasn’t too bad and I was able to get into more of a rhythm. Towards the end I was feeling good in the car and it feels really good to have completed my first Formula 1 race!

“I want to thank all the fans once again for giving this team another chance to race, this is where we belong.”

Caterham now enters the winter looking for further investment and a possible buyer to keep the team afloat. 2014 was meant to be the big breakthrough year at Leafield, but it will not be remembered fondly due to the financial problems that blighted its best intentions.

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.