Rosberg hails Mercedes strategy call after Australian GP victory

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Nico Rosberg hailed the strategy call by Mercedes that allowed him to win Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and move into the lead of the Formula 1 world championship for the first time since September 2014.

A poor start from second on the grid saw Rosberg lose a position early on, but Mercedes managed to use the undercut well at the first round of pit stops and get the German up into second behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

The race was suspended on lap 19 after a crash involving Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez had left debris strewn across the track, causing all cars to return to the pit lane.

Mercedes took advantage of this to switch Rosberg to the medium compound tire, allowing him to go to the end of the race without making another stop.

Although he initially lacked the pace to catch Vettel at the front, Rosberg took a lead he would never relinquish when the Ferrari driver pitted to move from super-softs to softs.

“The strategy was crucial today, so I’m really thankful. The team did a great job on that side,” Rosberg said, having won a fourth consecutive race for the first time in F1.

“We are really strong in strategy amongst other things. I don’t want to single out one thing, we’re strong in nearly all areas but that did it today. So I’m thankful.

“It was the tire choice also on the red flag. I was glad to see that [Ferrari] were on the super-soft. I wasn’t sure that was going to be the case. I was happy that I was able to follow quite well with the medium.

“I was a bit concerned about the restart with the medium, that that tire would be too cold but it worked out OK. It was fine. Yeah, red flag. Definitely necessary and the right thing for sure to clear out the incident.

“It was a great fight and a great race and I’m really pleased, to win the first race of the season was awesome. It was a good kickstart to the season.”

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.