F1: Ricciardo fastest in first Hungarian GP practice, Vettel 2nd

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.

The narrow Hungaroring track is among the most difficult to overtake on in Formula One, and considered more favorable to cars with a strong downforce like Red Bull and Ferrari.

Ricciardo was followed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel then his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in warm and sunny conditions.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth, then Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who struggled to find pace on a track not best suited to their cars.

Hamilton, who won last weekend’s German GP from 14th place on the grid, briefly lost control of his car on Turn 5 and also complained of his tires.

Verstappen also spun, while Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg aborted his run before the end of practice because of engine problems.

Ferrari’s team garage and motorhome flew its flag at half-mast and team members wore black armbands, after the death of its former president Sergio Marchionne. Vettel and Raikkonen also had black bands attached to their cars.

Marchionne, who was 66, died on Wednesday after complications from surgery in Zurich.

Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolf paid a personal tribute.

“We as well are very shocked by events. He was a friend and ally, a great rival and a competitor and will be dearly missed,” Wolf said. “Sergio was a bigger personality than life. In the meetings and in the strategy groups, and in the negotiations with Formula One and the FIA, (he) had the most powerful voice. His shoes are impossible to fill. … There was only one Sergio Marchionne.”

After a second practice later Friday, there is a third practice and qualifying on Saturday.

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.