Rosberg tops FP2 at Monza as Hamilton hits trouble

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Nico Rosberg has responded to Lewis Hamilton’s impressive time during the first practice session ahead of the Italian Grand Prix by finishing fastest in FP2 on Friday afternoon at Monza.

The German driver posted a fastest lap of 1:26.225 to finish just 0.061s ahead of his Mercedes teammate and championship rival, but Hamilton did well to get that close considering he was forced to miss most of the session after an electrical problem.

[ WATCH: Full replay of FP2 ]

The team was unable to fire Hamilton’s car up when the session went green, and only managed to resolve the issue with 30 minutes remaining. When he did venture out, Hamilton quickly got close to Rosberg’s time, only to be blocked by traffic on both of his hot laps.

This issue did rob the team of some precious laps though, with the Briton completing just a third of what his teammate could manage in the 90-minute session.

Just behind the Silver Arrows, Ferrari impressed once again to finish third and fourth on Friday afternoon. Kimi Raikkonen finished one-tenth of a second behind Rosberg at the top, and was two-tenths clear of Fernando Alonso in fourth place.

Williams began to show its true colors in FP2 after a quiet first session as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished fifth and ninth respectively. Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen also impressed for McLaren to come home sixth and eighth, with Sebastian Vettel splitting the pair. His Red Bull teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, rounded out the top ten.

Once again, Mercedes is forging ahead at the front of the field, but a very close battle is developing just behind Hamilton and Rosberg.

Join us tomorrow for FP3 on Live Extra at 5am ET, followed by qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on NBCSN at 8am ET.

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.