Da Costa edges out Ilott for victory in Macau qualifying race


Antonio Felix da Costa will start the 63rd Macau Grand Prix from pole position after edging out Callum Ilott for victory in Saturday’s qualifying race.

Andretti Formula E racer da Costa won the Formula 3 race back in 2012, but decided to return by taking up Carlin’s offer to join its Macau line-up.

Da Costa started third on Saturday and was able to move up to second early on before the race was put behind the safety car following a mighty shunt towards the back of the field.

Lando Norris, Maximillian Gunther and Antoine Hubert all shunted at the high-speed Mandarin corner, littering the track with debris, while Hong Li Ye’s car was sent flying into the air after running into the back of teammate Daiki Sasaki. Remarkably, both escaped injury in a terrifying crash.

British youngster Ilott led on the restart on Lap 5, but da Costa was able to make use of the slipstream afforded by the long straights at Macau to pull ahead and take the lead.

The two drivers traded fastest lap times for the remainder of the race and pulled away from the rest of the field, but da Costa did enough to hold on and win by 0.850 seconds at the checkered flag.

“Experience counts – I was able to push hard from the start while the others took a little while to settle in,” da Costa said, before adding that pole may be a disadvantage.

“Maybe second or third starting position would be better, so I can get a tow,” he said.

Behind da Costa and Ilott, Red Bull junior Sergio Sette Camara rounded out the podium, finishing ahead of Japanese youngster Kenta Yamashita and pole-sitter George Russell.

Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist ended up sixth, leaving the Swede with a mountain to climb if he wants to become the first man to win three consecutive Macau F3 races.

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.