MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: 2016 Singapore GP

© Getty Images

Formula 1 enters the night this weekend as the Singapore Grand Prix kick-starts the final run of flyaway races to the end of the 2016 season.

Lewis Hamilton arrives in Singapore still leading the drivers’ championship, but after wins in Italy and Belgium for Nico Rosberg, his advantage stands at just two points.

All eyes will be on Mercedes this weekend as it bids to keep its streak of wins going, while the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari look to spring a surprise.

So what’s on the cards in Singapore? As ever, MST F1 writers Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno have made their picks – let us know your thoughts.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race Winner: Daniel Ricciardo. While I believe Mercedes won’t make the same mistakes as 2015 and be more competitive in Singapore, I still can’t look past Daniel Ricciardo for the race win. We saw in Monaco how tuned in the Red Bull RB12 is to street circuits, so I expect Ricciardo – and the ‘shoey’ – to return to the top step of the podium.

Surprise Finish: McLaren. Singapore is a track where the deficiencies of the Honda power unit should be less evident, handing McLaren an opportunity for a tidy points haul. If Alonso can repeat his Monaco escapades and charge up the field, another top-five may be on the cards.

Most to Prove: Ferrari. One year on from its last grand prix victory, Ferrari looks further away from a breakthrough than ever. All eyes will be on Vettel, Raikkonen and team boss Maurizio Arrivabene this weekend.

Additional Storyline: Rain in Singapore? Every year, we seem to get a threat of rain over the Singapore GP weekend; every year, it seems to pass without coming to fruition. This time around though, we could be set to get F1’s first wet night race. What a treat that would be.

Predict the Podium

1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Daniel Ricciardo. Why not? The Red Bull chassis works well at Singapore, and Ricciardo’s been unlucky to have missed out on potential pair of victories this year, most notably at the similar circuit in Monaco. Pegging him for a “victory shoey” this weekend.

Surprise Finish: Fernando Alonso. At a track he goes well at and with the Honda power unit not at a horsepower deficit here compared to elsewhere, a good points finish is possible – say in the fifth to seventh range.

Most to Prove: Lewis Hamilton. I think I’m typing this for the first time this year that Hamilton is in this category, or at least the first time since his incredible month of July. Defeated in back to back races in Spa and Monza out of the break, and with this track having not suited Mercedes last year, and with his title lead back down to 2 points, this suddenly has become a really important weekend for Hamilton.

Additional Storyline: Mercedes vs. the field. At a track where they struggled last year they have to make a big step forward. Will they be able to do so?

Predict the Podium

1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.