Ericsson upbeat as Sauber makes Q2 breakthrough in Singapore

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Marcus Ericsson felt upbeat following qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday after securing his first Q2 berth since the Chinese Grand Prix back in April.

The Sauber Formula 1 Team brought its first raft of upgrades for the C35 car to Singapore after being forced to wait on receiving a financial boost before developing them.

The Swiss operation was taken over by Longbow Finance over the summer, securing the long-term future of the team and allowing it to hire a number of key personnel.

Ericsson put the updates on his car to good use by qualifying 16th on Saturday in Singapore, making it through to Q2 ahead of the Renault pair of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer.

While Ericsson was pleased with the result, he admitted that the team was still struggling for pace in comparison to the midfield runners.

“It is positive that I reached Q2 today,” Ericsson said.

“Overall it has been a difficult weekend for me, as I haven’t been able to get a good feeling for the car during the practice sessions.

“Therefore it makes it even nicer that we managed to make it into the second qualifying session.

“It is a good effort, but we need to keep pushing to close the gap to the midfield.”

Ericsson’s Sauber teammate Felipe Nasr was less pleased after finishing 18th, citing a drop-off in pace following practice.

“It was a disappointing qualifying for me,” Nasr conceded.

“I was surprised by the drop of performance in qualifying, as I felt comfortable in the car during the free practice sessions.

“We went in the right direction in regards to the car’s balance, then in qualifying I struggled with the rear grip on my first try.

“On the second set of tires I felt that my tire temperatures were not in the right working window.

“Anything can happen here in Singapore, so we keep fighting.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

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.