WATCH LIVE: Italian GP qualifying – will it be ‘Magica’ for Lewis?

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After finishing fastest in the final practice session for the Italian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton will be gunning for his first pole position since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

However, he will have to fend off the advances of teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg, who was the fastest man in the second session on Friday afternoon when Hamilton was sidelined by an electrical issue.

You can watch qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

Rosberg and Hamilton both had problems on their cars during the final practice session on Saturday morning, which will give Mercedes a few concerns ahead of the session this afternoon. Rosberg did not manage to post a lap time thanks to another electrical issue, and although Hamilton finished as the fastest man, but a DRS failure meant that he could not maximize the pace of the W05 car.

The chasing pack is certainly looking to cause an upset, though. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have run well for Ferrari in all of the sessions this weekend, even if many did not give them much hope heading to Monza. It will be interesting to see if the prancing horse can carry this form into qualifying on home soil.

Williams is the team that is expected to put up the most stringent challenge to Mercedes, given that the straight line speed of the FW36 is the best on the grid. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa face a big ask to repeat their front-row lock-out from Austria, but it is by no means impossible.

Also keep an eye out for the other pretenders in the top ten, such as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.

Monza is called “La Pista Magica” – the magic track – for a reason. It is a circuit that everyone wants to win at; starting from pole is a good way to go about it.

You can watch the complete qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET. CLICK HERE to watch via live stream.

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.