GP2 qualifying postponed due to curb issue in Baku

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Qualifying for the GP2 Series at the Baku City Circuit has been postponed due to an issue with the curbs on the track.

Following the conclusion of the first Formula 1 practice session in Baku on Friday, the GP2 field was set to take to the track and qualify for Saturday’s feature race.

However, the running was red flagged after just over one minute so that an inspection of the track could be conducted, with loose screws appearing at corners.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting inspected the curb of every corner on the track before it was decided that the session would be postponed until after the second F1 practice later today. FP2 is expected to go ahead as planned.

Auto Motor und Sport‘s Tobias Gruener reported that a number of teams suffered damage to their tires during FP1, seemingly related to the curbs.

NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton took to Twitter to offer a run-down of the situation.

FP2 is due to start at 9am ET (5pm in Baku), with GP2 qualifying now scheduled to start at 7pm local time.

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.