Rosberg: Singapore pole lap ‘one of my top three ever’

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Nico Rosberg believes that lap that took him to pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday night is among the best three of his Formula 1 career.

Rosberg stormed to his 29th pole position under the lights at Marina Bay, his first lap in Q3 good enough for pole by over half a second from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

After cutting Hamilton’s championship lead down to just two points with victory in Belgium and Italy, Rosberg can move back ahead in the standings with a third straight win on Sunday.

Speaking after qualifying, Rosberg made no secret of his delight after taking pole on the weekend of his 200th F1 start.

“Yeah definitely happy with that one for my 200th grand prix – for sure one of my top three laps ever,” Rosberg said.

“Happy with that, really went well.

“At times it wasn’t clear in qualifying how we were going to stack up against Red Bull because they were very quick on the super-soft in Q2.

“I knew I had to give it everything and really pull one out of the bag which is cool. Great feeling.”

Rosberg will start alongside Ricciardo on the front row in Singapore, who opted to fit the super-soft tire in Q2, meaning he can go longer into the race before stopping and has more strategy options.

When asked if he was worried about Ricciardo, Rosberg replied: “No, but for sure I’ll be keeping an eye on him yes.

“They were quick on race pace on Friday, I think more so than the qualifying pace.

“For sure he’ll be a threat, especially with that super-soft tire.”

Pole position in Singapore was the 29th of Rosberg’s F1 career, drawing him level with five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio for eighth place on the all-time record list.

The Singapore Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am 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.