Rosberg “gutted” to miss out on pole for Austrian GP

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Nico Rosberg admitted that he felt “gutted” to have missed out on pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday after making a mistake on his final qualifying lap.

Rosberg had enjoyed the edge on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for the majority of the race weekend, but was two-tenths of a second down ahead of their final runs in qualifying.

Hamilton appeared to have blown his chance to start on pole when he spun off at turn two on his final flying lap, and with Rosberg 0.082 seconds up on the Briton heading into the final sector, P1 appeared to be his for the taking.

However, Rosberg ran slightly wide at turn eight before losing the back-end of his car at the final corner, causing him to go straight on and into the gravel trap.

Rosberg was clearly disappointed, slapping his hands together upon getting out of the car, and admitted after the session that he felt pole had been possible.

“I went on the astroturf at the second to last corner,” Rosberg said. “Maybe that was still a bit wet or something, or I just overdid it after that, I’m not so sure, just lost it there at the last corner.

“Definitely gutted. Lewis was two-tenths quicker than my lap time, and I was exactly two-tenths up up to that point, so I knew I had to go for it because it was very, very close. I just overdid it.”

Rosberg explained how the nature of the Red Bull Ring meant that mistakes were easy to make, particularly when pushing hard to try and get the maximum lap time.

“This track generally is quite difficult, because you’ve got to get the braking right and you’ve got to attack to get a lap time around here,” Rosberg said. “It’s a very challenging track and easy to make mistakes.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

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.