Report: Hamilton in final stages of negotiations with Mercedes over new contract

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The supposed uncertainty surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s future at Mercedes looks set to end in the coming weeks after the Briton revealed to The Guardian newspaper that he is in the “final stages” of contract negotiations with the German team.

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 on a three-year deal, but opted to postpone negotiations over a new contract until the end of the 2014 season so he could focus on the battle for the drivers’ championship with teammate Nico Rosberg.

The British driver won the fight, claiming 11 wins from 19 races to secure his second world title, and the first for Mercedes since Juan Manuel Fangio’s success in 1954.

Over the winter, he opted to break ties with management company XIX Entertainment, whose clients in the past have included David Beckham and Carrie Underwood. Hamilton decided to negotiate his own contract, and confirmed to The Guardian that he was close to agreeing terms with Mercedes.

“Hopefully we’re in the final stages,” Hamilton said. “I don’t really know what the timeline is but we’re very much in the last stages of it. I’m committed to this team for the foreseeable future.”

The two-time world champion admitted that he has found negotiating his own contract difficult, but felt that it was a necessary experience.

“I’m not too sure I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s a very, very nerve-racking experience, but I’m glad I’ve done it. If I’d not done something like this I would have always wondered if I could or could not.”

Hamilton’s future with Mercedes has been something of a storm in a teacup over the winter, given that neither the driver nor the team would have any reason to cut ties for 2016.

Reports in February suggested that the sticking point was a demand from Hamilton to be paid $78m per year, but both the driver and the team dismissed this as pure speculation.

Should Hamilton opt to leave Mercedes though, team boss Toto Wolff has already named McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas as possible successors to the Briton, with Nico Rosberg agreeing a new long-term deal with the team last summer.

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.