Bottas leads as McLaren-Honda delayed on first day of Abu Dhabi test


Fresh off a podium on Sunday, Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets in his Williams-Mercedes on the opening day of testing in Abu Dhabi ahead of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

The two-day test is the last on-track running for Formula One in 2014. Here’s the lineup.

While Bottas was the chart-topper, the headliner was the first running for the new McLaren-Honda in an official test session. But electrical problems delayed the debut until the afternoon.

Stoffel Vandoorne was able to get out for installation runs in the McLaren MP4-29X1/H1 Honda, the interim chassis fitted with the Honda V6 power unit before the full integration into the team’s new chassis next season.

The GP2 ace, who finished runner-up to Jolyon Palmer in his rookie season, will stay in the car for Wednesday’s session.

Palmer made his debut with Force India, in perhaps an audition for a reserve role there or elsewhere in 2015. The Englishman completed only 37 laps due to engine and other technical issues, which was fewest on the day, but still ended solidly in fourth at day’s end.

On the flip side, Nico Rosberg (114 laps), Will Stevens (102) and Carlos Sainz (100) crossed the century mark with their days.

Charles Pic slotted in at Lotus after being confirmed at the last minute for the day, while Marcus Ericsson made his debut with Sauber.

One driver with a troubled afternoon was Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, with an apparent suspension issue sending him into the barriers on his third lap of the day. He got back out in the afternoon and completed 55 laps.

More breakouts from day one in Abu Dhabi will follow throughout the day on MotorSportsTalk. Here’s the times:

1. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes, 1m 43.396s, 80 Laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m 43.888s, 81
3. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 44.512s, 114 laps
4. Jolyon Palmer, Force India-Mercedes, 1m 45.516s, 37
5. Carlos Sainz, Red Bull-Renault, 1m 45.339s, 100
6. Will Stevens, Caterham-Renault, 1m 45.436s, 102
7. Charles Pic, Lotus-Renault, 1m 46.167s, 89
8. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m 46.253s, 95
9. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso-Renault, 1m 47.194s, 55
10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, no time, 3

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.