Grosjean: P11 in Baku qualifying the best Haas could hope for

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Romain Grosjean felt pleased with his display in qualifying for the European Grand Prix on Saturday despite narrowly missing out on a place in Q3.

Grosjean arrived in Baku hopeful of ending Haas Formula 1 Team’s three-race run of races without points, having last graced the top 10 in Russia at the beginning of May.

Q2 saw Grosjean finish less than one-tenth of a second behind Felipe Massa in P10, eliminating him before the final leg of qualifying in Baku.

Despite not reaching the top 10, Grosjean said that he felt it was all Haas could realistically achieve on Saturday.

“Pretty good result at the end of the day. It was the best we could’ve hoped for,” Grosjean said.

“Being just outside the top-10 is actually quite good for our strategy and the tires tomorrow. I struggled with the grip and the braking in Q1. I was blocked a couple of times and I was a bit worried. The second run I needed a clean lap and we did that.

“The car felt great in Q2 and I managed to get some good grip from the tires, which helped a lot. We still have to investigate our brakes a bit to make sure the car is performing better.

“Generally, it was a good performance from the team. All weekend long it’s been working well, so I’m happy with that.”

Teammate Esteban Gutierrez qualified 15th after making a mistake on his final Q2 run, much to his disappointment.

“Today hasn’t been a good day for me,” Gutierrez admitted.

“I’ve been struggling a bit with the brakes. On the last lap I took a few risks and I made a small mistake. Unfortunately, I didn’t have another chance after that.

“Overall, I think sometimes you have to take risks and these things happen. In racing you have to try to make the most of every opportunity and, occasionally, it comes out like this.

“Looking ahead to tomorrow, we will try to advance as much as we can and get the best out of our performance. The track will allow for some overtaking so it will be a great race to watch.”

The European Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET on Sunday.

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.