Arrivabene: Alonso not to blame for Ferrari’s 2014 woes

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene does not believe that Fernando Alonso was to blame for the internal issues that blighted the Italian marque’s 2014 campaign.

Last year saw Ferrari endure its worst season in over 20 years as neither Alonso nor teammate Kimi Raikkonen managed to win a race.

Across the course of 2014, a gradual revolution took place at Maranello as the old regime was ushered out.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, team principals Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci and a number of other top personnel lost their jobs across the course of the year, with Alonso leaving in December to join McLaren.

Ferrari is now under the presidency of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, with Maurizio Arrivabene taking up the role of team principal as he hopes to lead the team into a new era.

However, he does not believe that Alonso was to blame for the internal divisions that warranted such drastic changes at Maranello.

“I don’t think it’s fair to point the finger at Fernando,” Arrivabene said. “It was the overall situation. When people are under pressure they are going to be divided. This creates a kind of mess in the team.

“Accusing Fernando is not my intention. I have a lot of respect for Fernando. We have a good relationship. I’m not putting the finger on him.”

Despite wanting to leave, Alonso was Ferrari’s leading points scorer as Kimi Raikkonen embarked on the toughest season of his F1 career. The Finn finished 12th in the standings, but Arrivabene is not concerned about these problems continuing in 2015.

“Kimi had a simple problem: he was not feeling the car,” Arrivabene said. “It was not the right car for Kimi. It was not the right car for Fernando either, actually. Kimi suffered a bit more than Fernando, but now he’s feeling the car better.

“He said to us that the [2015] car is an improvement. Kimi is very motivated and is getting on very well with Seb. I think this is great. But it was the overall situation that was a big mess.”

Ahead of winter testing, Arrivabene set Ferrari the target of winning two races in 2015. Despite the team finishing inside the top two on every single day of pre-season so far, the team principal is unwilling to revise his goals.

“I’m not so crazy to change the objective now,” Arrivabene said. “The objective stays the same. Ferrari wants to win two races, that’s more than fine. Three would be perfect. For four races I will run without shoes for 100km up the hill to Maranello!

“The objective is still the same. The drivers are looking to win every race of course. This is their job and what they are paid for. I want to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic. This is still our objective. We will see during the season.”

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

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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.