Vettel hoping for more rain on Sunday after scoring Ferrari’s first front-row start in two years (VIDEO)


Sebastian Vettel’s excellent start to life with Ferrari continued in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday as the German driver scored the team’s first front-row start in two years.

A heavy rain shower during Q2 forced drivers to run on the intermediate tire in the final part of qualifying, allowing Vettel to run the Mercedes drivers close in the fight for pole position.

Although the German ultimately fell 0.074 seconds short of P1 man Lewis Hamilton at the flag, he still did enough to beat an annoyed Nico Rosberg to second place on the grid.

Speaking in the post-session press conference, Vettel admitted that although the Mercedes drivers will be hard to beat in the race, more rain could help him to fight at the front.

“You never know, just look outside,” Vettel said when asked about his chances of winning the race on Sunday. “Obviously when it starts to rain here, where there is a high chance, it can mix up things.

“I think it was an interesting qualifying session. The car felt good in both dry and wet conditions also at the end. I’m reasonably happy. Also the long-runs I think looked good in the practice, so we should be in good shape.

“But we know that they are difficult to beat. Ultimately, that’s why everyone turns up: trying to win. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow. It looks like we’re a little bit closer here, but we’ll have to wait and see I guess.”

Vettel is the first Ferrari driver to start on the front row of the grid at a grand prix since Felipe Massa at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix – a statistic that perfectly displays the Scuderia’s recent demise.

However, should more rain strike on Sunday, Vettel could be in the running to score the team’s first victory since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. Mercedes unquestionably remains the team to beat, but the four-time world champion has made a very impressive start indeed to life with Ferrari.

The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET on Sunday.

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.