Ricciardo expecting improved performance in Malaysia

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Daniel Ricciardo is expecting Red Bull to have made some progress for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix following a disappointing start to the 2015 F1 season in Australia.

Ricciardo finished in a lowly sixth place at his home grand prix last weekend as Red Bull struggled to get the new RB11 car up to speed thanks to issues with the Renault power unit.

With Mercedes romping to another one-two finish some 30 seconds ahead of the field, team advisor Helmut Marko suggested that Red Bull could quit the sport unless some steps were taken to equalize the field.

However, Ricciardo remains focused on his own display, and hopes that Red Bull can make a step forward ahead of the race in Malaysia on March 29.

“I’m feeling good coming into Malaysia,” Ricciardo said. “I know we have a lot of things to improve on and I’m optimistic that we can achieve some of those in Malaysia, which will give us some more performance.

“I’m just hanging out waiting to drive now, but it’s good. The season has started now and I think if anyone had any first race jitters they’re gone and I think Malaysia should run a lot smoother for everyone.”

Held in the nation’s monsoon season, the Malaysian Grand Prix is often affected by rain, but Ricciardo explained how racing in difficult conditions can be a very satisfying experience.

“I think racing in the wet is a bit of a love/hate relationship,” Ricciardo said. “Sometimes you have a really good wet race and all of a sudden you’re the rain master and other times it just doesn’t quite work.

“Generally I think it’s a really good challenge, visibility is a lot worse and the car is obviously a lot harder to manage. I think if you master the rain conditions it is a very satisfying feeling.”

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.