Hamilton pleased with Friday running, but Rosberg remains cautious

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F1 might have enjoyed a three-week break for summer, but at the front of the grid, not much appears to have changed as Mercedes once again dominated in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix today.

The Silver Arrows secured one-twos in both sessions on Friday at Spa, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg each enjoying one session at the top of the timesheets. In Hamilton’s eyes, it was a very good day of running.

“It’s great to be back in the car and it was feeling good out there today,” the Briton said. “The morning wasn’t as strong, but it definitely improved in the afternoon. As always, we still have work to do tonight, but overall today was okay.

“It stayed dry throughout both sessions but the forecast is wet for tomorrow, so it was important to maximize track time as this may be our last dry running before the race. We’ve seen rain so often here in the past and that can really mix things up, particularly when it’s wet in places and dry in others.”

However, Rosberg was more wary, believing that the chasing pack may have closed on Mercedes for this weekend’s race.

“It looks like we have the quickest car again, but it’s a bit different here than at some other tracks,” Rosberg said. “It seems that some of the other teams are closer and we need to work a bit on our speed down the straights.

“As normal, it will be a long night analyzing everything that we learned today to really nail it tomorrow.

Mercedes will be hoping to secure its seventh one-two finish of the season this weekend, and it looks set to do so given that the high-speed nature of the circuit will suit the strengths of the W05 car.

However, the intra-team battle is set to rage on following the team orders debate at the last race in Hungary, as both Hamilton and Rosberg vie for the 2014 drivers’ championship.

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.