F1 Paddock Pass: Bahrain Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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After sparks flew both on and off track in China last weekend, Formula 1 heads to Bahrain anticipating another great battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the first night race of the season.

The two Mercedes drivers gave us one of the races of the season in Bahrain last year, fighting tooth and nail for the final ten laps of the race in one of the defining battles of the year.

Hamilton won on that day, and would go on to clinch the title when F1 returned to the middle east in Abu Dhabi later in the year.

With the intra-team battle set to reignite, we caught up with both Hamilton and Rosberg in the latest edition of NBC Sports’ original digital series, Paddock Pass.

In this edition, Will Buxton speaks with our probable title protagonists about their battle last year and what more they can do to get the upper hand in this year’s fight at the front.

We also hear from Will Stevens following his first race for Manor in China, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo – whose new album is set to drop soon (watch and you’ll understand) – and Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen ahead of this weekend’s race.

For full broadcasting details of the Bahrain Grand Prix on NBCSN, CNBC and Live Extra, click here.

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.