Vettel handed grid penalty for Japan after Rosberg clash

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Sebastian Vettel has been given a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Formula 1 race in Japan after causing a collision with Nico Rosberg at the start of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel tried to move up into second place at the first corner at Sepang, diving down the inside of both Max Verstappen and Rosberg, only to hit both of them and send the Mercedes driver into a spin.

Rosberg was able to recover to finish third, while Vettel retired after the impact broke his front suspension and bent his front-left wheel.

Verstappen took to team radio to call Vettel an “idiot”, while Rosberg feared “it was all over” due to the severity of the impact.

The stewards announced that the incident would be investigated after the race, with Vettel making an appearance at their office on Sunday evening.

The panel looked dimly on Vettel’s move, handing him a three-place grid drop for next weekend’s race at Suzuka and two penalty points on his FIA super license.

“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max. We were both battling for position into turn one,” Vettel explained.

“Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right.

“At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down anymore and I was also pushed by Max to the right. I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one.

“I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front.

“I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for Turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead.

“I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards.”

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.