Sainz: No problems in ‘healthy rivalry’ with Verstappen

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Carlos Sainz Jr. says that he has no problems with Scuderia Toro Rosso teammate Max Verstappen despite the two enjoying a frosty battle in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

An incorrect strategy left Sainz and Verstappen on the fringes of the top 10 towards the end of the race in Melbourne, having previously both been running well inside the points.

Verstappen demanded on a number of occasions to be let past Sainz when the Spaniard was stuck behind Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, but was kept back.

Eventually, both drivers passed Palmer, but the two made light contact later on to send Verstappen into a spin. Sainz ultimately finished the race in ninth place, one place ahead of his teammate.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Sainz said that he has no problems with Verstappen and that their rivalry remains a healthy one.

“I think it’s a healthy rivalry. At least from my side, I have absolutely no issues with anyone,” Sainz said.

“Today it was a very interesting are, a very on the limit race but that’s how Formula 1 should be: on the limit and I enjoyed a lot even if the final position I think we deserved more with so many overtakes and so much show going on.

“I enjoyed it, and I think there will be no issues at least from my side.”

Verstappen was less vocal when pressed on the matter by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton, but admitted that he felt angry with the team during the race.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity. I think everything worked well, great start, good first call in the pit stop and then everything just turned into…” Verstappen said, tailing off.

“I was very angry of course. Very disappointing. We had a great car and then to finish down here is not where we should be.

“It is like it is and I’ll just try to do it better the next race, but I’m just very disappointed.

“If you can see that the Haas finishes sixth, then I think we had a great opportunity to have a great result here.”

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.