Pirelli responds to Vettel’s criticism after Spa tire failure

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Pirelli has responded to criticism levelled by Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in the aftermath of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix by revealing that teams rejected a request to limit the number of laps that could be complete on each tire compound two years ago.

On the penultimate lap of the race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Vettel suffered a right-rear tire failure when heading along the high-speed Kemmel Straight, costing him a podium finish.

After the race, the German was left fuming with Pirelli, believing that the Italian tire supplier was not being thorough enough in preventing failures with its compounds.

Pirelli responded by issuing a short but revealing statement on Sunday night following the race that claimed Vettel had gone five laps longer on his set of tires than it advised two years ago.

“In November 2013, Pirelli requested that there should be rules to govern the maximum number of laps that can be driven on the same set of tires, among other parameters to do with correct tire usage,” the statement said.

“This request was not accepted. The proposal put forward a maximum distance equivalent to 50% of the grand prix distance for the prime tire and 30% for the option.

“These conditions, if applied today at Spa, would have limited the maximum number of laps on the medium compound to 22.”

Vettel’s tire failure was the second of the weekend, following Nico Rosberg’s blowout during practice on Friday afternoon. However, Pirelli confirmed that whereas Rosberg’s was due to a cut caused by an external body, Vettel’s was a result of excessive wear.

Nevertheless, a full investigation is poised to follow so that both Pirelli and Ferrari can get to the bottom of the incident.

Had the decision to limit tire life in races been accepted, it would have ensured a minimum of two pit stops in races, which despite creating more action in the race may have been considered to be too artificial.

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.