Red Bull targeting Mercedes F1 challenge in 2017

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Helmut Marko says that Red Bull is targeting a challenge to Mercedes’ Formula 1 supremacy in 2017, believing that upcoming engine gains will put it in contention at the front of the pack once again.

Red Bull dominated F1 between 2010 and 2013, winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championship throughout the four-year period with Sebastian Vettel as team leader.

Following the change from V8 engines to the V6 turbo power units for 2014, Red Bull has struggled to emulate this form, claiming just four race wins since then.

2016 has seen Red Bull enter battle with Ferrari for second in the standings, but is still some way off Mercedes at the top.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko said the target is to cut this gap for next season.

“We’ve always done well when there is a regulation change that doesn’t only focus on the engine,” Marko said.

“The work on our engine is developing in the right direction, so in 2017 we should be within around 15 horsepower [of Mercedes].

“This we can compensate for. So our aim is to challenge Mercedes next season.

“The numbers that the engineers are finding look very good. Of course the track will give the final answer.

“But as our clear objective is to beat Mercedes, next year the numbers better be good!”

Marko also envisages greater synergy between Red Bull and its junior F1 team, Toro Rosso, as both teams will be using Renault power units once again. Toro Rosso switched to year-old Ferrari units in 2016.

“We try to have as much [synergy] as possible, first of all for cost reasons and then for performance reasons,” Marko said.

“Whatever the regulations permit we will do – probably not to the full extent next year as Toro Rosso cannot work as quickly as Red Bull Racing, but I expect that this will change over a period of two years.”

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.