Hamilton optimistic ahead of Indian GP after qualifying P3

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With the fight for second in the Formula One constructors’ championship heating up between his Mercedes squad and Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton is set to do all he can to help the Silver Arrows take the battle.

The former World Champion will line up third for tomorrow’s Airtel Indian Grand Prix (LIVE, 5 a.m. ET on NBCSN/NBC Sports Live Extra) after posting a qualifying lap of 1 minute, 24.941 seconds – putting him right behind the front row of pole sitter Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton had been happy with his efforts in Friday practice and remained in the same mindset after his qualifying run this morning.

“Nico did a great job – he’s been strong all weekend – and on my side, I’ve struggled a little bit through this weekend,” Hamilton said after qualifying.

“I struggled a little bit with something different on the car this weekend which Nico had had experience of seeing maybe in the past. I came to grips with it really quite quickly at the end and I’m really happy with the result and the lap time that I was able to get.”

As for what Sunday will bring, Hamilton reckoned that differing tire strategies will play a major role in how the race goes off.

“We’ll hope for a good start, get rid of the softs early and then focus on pushing as hard as we can on the primes,” he said.

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.