Ricciardo quickest for Red Bull on day two in Barcelona (VIDEO)


Daniel Ricciardo has finished fastest on the second day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the F1 pre-season hit its halfway point.

With six days down and six to go in winter testing, Ricciardo put in an impressive display for Red Bull by finishing quickest with a lap time of 1:24.574.

The team also managed to iron out most of the minor issues that had limited its running on Thursday as the Australian completed 143 laps at the top of the timesheets.

After a frenetic first day of testing in Barcelona on Thursday, Friday was far quieter in comparison. There were still three red flag periods, with one that lasted just 12 seconds being issued for Ricciardo after his car stopped at the end of the pit lane. The team soon wheeled him back to the garage and then sent him out again a few minutes later.

Ricciardo went on to complete a full race simulation of 66 laps on Friday, with his fastest lap going unbeaten at the top of the timesheets during the afternoon session.

Kimi Raikkonen continued Ferrari’s impressive pre-season form in second place, finishing just ten-thousandths of a second shy of Ricciardo’s best time. The Finn will next get behind the wheel of the SF15-T at the final test in Barcelona as he hands the reins over to Sebastian Vettel for the final two days of this test. Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez followed the Ferrari driver on the timesheets in third and fourth place respectively.

After coming down with a fever on Thursday, Lewis Hamilton made a surprise return to the track today after taking over from Nico Rosberg for the afternoon session. Mercedes confirmed that it opted to stand Rosberg down after the morning running to ensure that the German driver remains fresh for his next run on Sunday.

Both Silver Arrows put in an impressive display, with Hamilton finishing fifth ahead of Rosberg in P6. However, the drivers posted their fastest lap times on the medium tire, suggesting that they have plenty of time in reserve. The reliability of the W06 Hybrid was also evident once again as the team completed over 150 laps.

McLaren had not expected to manage any meaningful mileage after a failure on the MGU-K curtailed its Thursday running, with a new part not expected to arrive until Saturday. Nevertheless, Fernando Alonso still managed to complete 59 laps, even if the car could not manage more than five or six at a time.

2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer began life in his reserve driver role at Lotus by completing all of the team’s running on Friday in Barcelona. A morning full of aero evaluations and tests meant that he could only manage 77 laps in total, managing a fastest time of 1:26.280 that left him eighth in the classification.

Following Ricciardo’s short stoppage, there were two red flags later on in the day. The second stoppage came courtesy of Carlos Sainz Jr. after a spin at turn nine, ending up in the gravel. The Toro Rosso driver still managed to rack up of 100 laps, but propped up the standings down in tenth place.

Just ahead of Sainz was Marcus Ericsson for Sauber, who stopped on the main straight in the final hour of running to warrant the third and final red flag of the day.

At the top though, Ricciardo put in an impressive display to finish ahead of Raikkonen and Massa, but the advantage does still appear to lie with Mercedes for the time being. With six days of running left until the start of the season, all of the teams will be hoping to up their pace and get everything in line before they leave Barcelona next weekend.

Barcelona Day 2 – Final Classification

1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:24.574 (143 laps)
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.585 +0.010 (90)
3. Felipe Massa Williams 1:24.672 +0.098 (88)
4. Sergio Perez Force India 1:24.702 +0.128 (121)
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.923 +0.349 (89)
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.556 +0.982 (66)
7. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:25.961 +1.387 (59)
8. Jolyon Palmer Lotus 1:26.280 +1.706 (77)
9. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:27.334 +2.760 (113)
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:28.945 +4.371 (100)

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.