Button ‘still smiling’ despite Q1 exit in British GP qualifying

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Jenson Button remains optimistic of scoring points in Sunday’s British Grand Prix despite being eliminated in the first part of qualifying at Silverstone.

Button was stranded in the pits in the final stages of Q1 thanks to an issue with his rear wing, allowing his rivals to post faster laps and relegate him into the dropzone.

Button was therefore left in P17 and out of qualifying, continuing his home-race hoodoo that has seen him never finish any higher than fourth at Silverstone in 16 attempts.

“It hasn’t been a lucky weekend for me so far,” Button said.

“One of the rear-wing endplates became detached from the floor on my first flying lap in Q1, and the rear end of the car slowly deteriorated for the remainder of the lap.

“It happened into Turn 8, which is where the high-speed corners start, and where you need downforce, so I’m surprised I even did the lap time I did, to be honest. We tried to fix it in order go out again for a second run, but sadly we ran out of time.”

Despite the setback, Button remains upbeat and is hopeful of scoring points in his home race on Sunday.

“Still, I’m smiling because it is what is. We’ll deal with it, and we’ll come out of it stronger.

“I’ll be hoping for rain and something unexpected to happen in the race, and I’m still aiming for points tomorrow.”

McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso made it through to Q3, and will start the race from ninth on the grid after Sebastian Vettel was hit with a grid penalty.

“This weekend has been positive for us so far. We’re still missing a little bit of speed along the straights, but we can fortunately compensate for that through the long corners around here,” Alonso said.

“So I think we’re in a position where we could score points tomorrow.In qualifying, we ultimately didn’t have the speed to climb any higher in Q3; but starting ninth, following Sebastian’s penalty, is a good place for us, particularly after two races with reliability issues.

“There is a wet weather forecast for tomorrow, and some drops of rain in the middle of the race would make it more fun for me, so I think we’re ready for anything that comes our way.

“I’d love to see two McLaren-Hondas in the points tomorrow.”

The British Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am 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.