F1: Daniel Ricciardo posts fastest time in 1st German GP practice run

Getty Images
0 Comments

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo was fractionally faster than Lewis Hamilton in the first practice session for the German Grand Prix on Friday.

The Red Bull driver topped the charts by just .0004 seconds ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes. His pace may count for little, however, considering Ricciardo starts Sunday’s race from last because of a grid penalty for engine-part changes.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third quickest, about .2 seconds behind his teammate in hot sunshine at the Hockenheimring track.

There is a second practice later Friday, and a third practice Saturday before qualifying.

German driver Sebastian Vettel, who leads defending champion Hamilton by eight points in the title race, was fourth quickest. But the top three drivers were using the faster ultrasoft tire compound, while Vettel ran with softs.

Valtteri Bottas momentarily lost control of his Mercedes, and Kimi Raikkonen likewise his Ferrari, and both briefly veered off track. They were fifth and sixth quickest, respectively. Nico Hulkenberg also gave the home fans a scare when he flew off the track and ploughed over some gravel, recovering control of his Renault just before a wall.

In another encouraging performance, Charles Leclerc placed ninth with a considerably slower Sauber car while running on softs.

Leclerc, who is from Monaco, has greatly impressed in his debut season. So much so he is being touted to replace the 38-year-old Raikkonen at Ferrari next year.

Ricciardo’s penalty is because his team had to make multiple changes to the hybrid system, the energy store and the electronics unit for a combined total of 20 grid positions.

Drivers are allowed to use two of each specific engine part during the season before incurring penalties, but this is the third time Ricciardo is using each individual element.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media
0 Comments

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.