Verstappen “feeling fine” after heavy crash (VIDEO)

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Max Verstappen’s hopes of finishing inside the top ten on his first start at the Monaco Grand Prix ended in disappointment on Sunday after a late run-in with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean.

Fitted with fresh tires after making his second pit stop, Verstappen was charging for a top ten position with 15 laps remaining, and looked to make a move on Grosjean heading into the first corner.

However, Verstappen misjudged where Grosjean had placed his car, running into the back of the Frenchman before spearing his Toro Rosso into the wall at the first corner.

In spite of the heavy crash, the 17-year-old walked away unscathed, and was surprisingly upbeat about his race following the incident.

“I was really happy with the car in the race,” Verstappen said. “I was even catching up with Vettel and Rosberg [when a lap down], even though I decided to stay behind because it made it easier to get past other people.

“Then I got very close to Grosjean while fighting for the final points position and I ended up in the barriers. It was quite a big crash, but I’m feeling fine.”

His crash inadvertently allowed teammate Carlos Sainz Jr to finish the race in tenth place, picking up the final point on offer in Monaco after starting from the pit lane.

“What an amazing race, I’m very happy with the result,” Sainz said. “To start from the pit lane in Monaco, on my debut, and to cross the line in P10 feels like a victory!

“It was a very good race from the team in terms of strategy and tire management. We worked for it very hard and completed a super long stint on the soft tire.

“This finally paid off and we managed to score a point. I was really enjoying it out there, I was quick and enjoying this unique track, I didn’t want the race to end!”

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.