Gutierrez sidelined by brake disc issue in Bahrain

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Esteban Gutierrez’s hopes of scoring his first Formula 1 points in over two years were dashed on Sunday when a brake disc issue forced him to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Gutierrez ran as high as sixth early on at the Bahrain International Circuit after making a good start from 13th on the grid, benefitting from clashes between the drivers ahead.

However, the Mexican driver was forced to return to the pits and park his Haas F1 car up in the garage after an issue emerged on his front-left brake disc.

“After a great start, where I gained a lot of positions, I was feeling very confident,” Gutierrez said.

“I was very happy with how the car was feeling, and I was managing my tires and fuel well. Unfortunately, we had an issue with the front brake and we felt we couldn’t continue, so I had to retire.

“I’m now looking ahead to China. The team is performing really well. The speed is there and we have a great car. So, I will keep fighting for the next race.”

Gutierrez last scored points at the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix, and failed to finish the opening race of his comeback season in Australia two weeks ago after being hit by Fernando Alonso.

Haas continues to ride high early on in its F1 story, though, with Romain Grosjean charging to fifth place in Bahrain on Sunday to pick up another 10 points for the team.

“A fantastic day for the team. Romain did a great job. The whole team did a great job. The only downside is that Esteban didn’t complete the race,” team principal Guenther Steiner said.

“We had a problem with the left-front brake, which we’re going to investigate further. Our aim now for China is to get two cars to the finish and to finish in the points.

“We’ve done a few pit stops, which gives us a lot of confidence. We can’t wait to go to the next race and to try and keep this form going.”

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.