Marchionne: Extreme conditions key to innovation in motorsport

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TURIN, Italy – Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes there should be more freedom for experimentation in motorsport in order to encourage innovation in the automotive industry.

A constant battle being faced by many championships including Formula 1 is that of balancing innovation and road-relevance with cost control.

Speaking in his opening statement ahead of the FIA Sport Conference in Turin on Tuesday, Marchionne stressed the importance of freedom in regulations to encourage innovation.

“The success and strength of Ferrari has always been closely linked to the world of Formula 1 and racing has always been the laboratory where the leading edge, innovative technologies for its street cars are developed,” Marchionne said.

“The character and potential of Ferrari is constantly tested on the track. In any event, I firmly believe that there should be more freedom for experimentation.”

Marchionne believes that the more radical technical regulations set to be introduced to F1 for 2017 are a step in the right direction to encouraging innovation.

“Jean Todt and the other members of the Formula One Commission have been trying to find a balance between ensuring access to the sport by limiting the costs of participation, and the need to innovate,” Marchionne said.

“I think that with the introduction of the 2017 regulations we have found an acceptable point of equilibrium, but we must be mindful that pushing cars to the limit and testing them under the most extreme conditions is the only way to guarantee the maximum yield in innovation.”

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.