Vettel to start last in Singapore after car failure in qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel is poised to start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix from last position on the grid after a rear anti-roll bar failure on his Ferrari car left him off the pace during qualifying at Marina Bay.

Vettel took pole in Singapore last year before going on to win the race, and hoped to be in the mix at the front of the field with the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers once again this weekend.

After struggling with his setup throughout practice, Vettel’s weekend went from bad to worse in qualifying when he began to lap slowly.

Footage of Vettel out on-track showed the rear of his car behaving in a strange fashion, the German’s live lap delta reading below the required time to get through to Q2.

Vettel opted to pit instead of completing another lap, telling Ferrari it was “stupid” before jumping out of his car. Ultimately, his best lap was over 2.5 seconds shy of a Q2 berth, leaving him 22nd on the grid.

When told by NBCSN that it was not what he expected in qualifying, Vettel replied: “No, definitely not!

“Nevertheless I think we’ll have a good race. We now have to ensure the second car [teammate Kimi Raikkonen] survives. Shame as we could have been high up with both. But we have fresh tires!

“I think it was the rear [anti-roll bar],” Vettel added. “That’s the feeling usually when you go around on three wheels.”

The result marks Vettel’s first Q1 exit since the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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
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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.