Carlos Sainz Jr. ‘super happy’ with sixth in Brazil

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Carlos Sainz Jr. hailed his charge to sixth place in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix as “incredible” despite missing out on his best Formula 1 finish in the closing laps of the race.

Sainz bounced back from qualifying 15th to rise up the field with a bold strategy call, sticking with the wet compound tires throughout amid treacherous conditions at Interlagos.

The Spaniard found himself running fourth in the closing stages, only for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to battle past in the dying moments of the race.

Despite ending up sixth, Sainz was delighted with the result as he matched his best finish in F1.

“The rain definitely helped. All the teams except Mercedes did a rain dance,” Sainz told NBCSN after the race.

“I’m super happy with this P6. We were in front of Red Bull despite being 2.5 seconds slower. We brought it home in P6 which was incredible.”

The race in Brazil was red flagged twice and featured a number of safety car periods due to heavy rain and on-track incidents, leading to questions from the drivers about the decisions taken by race control.

Sainz said he understood the complaints, but that the calls made by the officials were right.

“[It’s] much harder than people expect,” Sainz said when asked about racing in wet conditions.

“I see complaints, why don’t people race. When you see an accident like Kimi [Raikkonen’s], red car in front of 300km/h, 10 meters in front of me – it’s not easy to keep it straight.”

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.