Vettel paces second Bahrain F1 practice, loses running to car issue

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Sebastian Vettel set the pace once again for Ferrari in the second Formula 1 practice running for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but lost track time after a complete shutdown on his SF70H car midway through the session on Friday evening.

Vettel topped the timesheets for Ferrari in FP1 ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, and continued to set a rapid pace in FP2, turning in a best lap of 1:31.310 during the 90-minute session.

Vettel headed up a close-knit group at the top of the timesheets, with less than three-tenths of a second covering the Ferrari driver, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in fifth place.

Hamilton was left frustrated by traffic on his super-soft qualifying simulations, with the stewards set to investigate an incident involving Nico Hulkenberg that sent the Briton off-track.

Just as Vettel began to prepare for his long runs in the second half of the session, the German suffered a loss of power coming out of Turn 13, causing him to slow. Despite his best efforts to reset the car, Vettel required a push from the marshals to get back to the pits, costing him track time.

Ferrari was able to resolve the issue with relative ease, with Vettel staying in his car the entire time as it was fixed, losing around 10 minutes of running in total.

Behind the top five, Nico Hulkenberg put in an impressive display for Renault to finish sixth, with Williams’ Felipe Massa following in P7 ahead of Max Verstappen, who suffered damage after hitting debris that limited his FP2 running.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean wound up ninth ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who rounded out the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

Vettel was not the only driver to hit trouble, with Carlos Sainz Jr. also suffering a stoppage on-track that brought his session to an end with just five laps on the board.

Following his engine problem in FP1, Stoffel Vandoorne was forced to miss the first half of the session, but eventually emerged to complete some much-needed running for the ailing McLaren team.

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.