RacerXOnline.com reports that after over fifty years with Honda HRC, Ken Roczen has become a free agent who will move into 2023.. The announcement was first made by Roczen on James Stewart’s Bubba’s World podcast on Thursday. Roczen has been racing for Honda in supercross and motocross since 2017, amassing seven best results including second place in the 2019 Lucas Oil Motocross Championship and the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series.
According to Honda’s statement, the offer made to Roczen included the condition that he would not “participate in a series that positions itself as a direct competitor to our supercross and motocross partners” was rejected by the rider and his team. In July, Roczen announced that he would compete in a three-race World Supercross Championship (WSX) pilot season.
“It’s a weird feeling, but basically I’m a free agent at the moment, which is kind of crazy.” Roczen said in a podcast. “I have never been in this position. But, ultimately, I devoted myself to these races, these foreign races, and there are not three, but two. I haven’t raced in Europe for a long time, I’ve never been to Australia. For me, the decision to participate in these races was given quite easily. Especially at the end of my career, it was the right time.
“It’s been too long, and since it’s not a complete series yet, I had the opportunity to make this deal. What was a shock to me, Honda decided to refuse an offer they made me a week or a couple of weeks ago, which, by the way, was a great offer. I mean, if I wanted to go after the money, then that would be the smart thing to do. But I dedicated myself to these races, and it was not at all comfortable for me to leave the fans unattended. ”
Honda responded that the offer was not accepted by them.
“In light of recent comments, we felt the need to clarify a couple of points,” Brandon Wilson, Sports and Experiences Manager for American Honda, said:. “We were looking forward to continuing with Ken in 2023 and recently made him a contract extension offer. Nobody canceled this offer, but Ken and his team rejected it.
Honda HRC is not among the top 10 racing teams in the WSX.
And it has not yet been announced which team Roczen will compete for at the first WSX race in Cardiff, Wales, scheduled three weeks from now on 8 October 2022.
“The offer I received was mainly for 2023 Supercross and Supercross only,” Roczen continued. “It was big money. Everything made sense and I was very grateful that it happened. Unfortunately, I made a deal with World Supercross a few months ago. … Yes, I had a contract with Honda, but we had a mutual agreement that hey, we are not big fans of it, but this year, it’s a startup and things like that, they will agree with it. So we didn’t have to worry about anything. And at the moment we made this deal, I didn’t even have an offer or anything for next year yet.”
Jett Lawrence, winner of the last two motocross titles and the 2022 2022 Supercross 250 East Championship, is due to move into the 450 class with Honda for the 2023 motocross season.
To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long and unique journey Tanner Faust went through in his first season in the Extreme E series when he took early season lessons in Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he learned his lessons well.
McLaren announced in February that it would expand its motorsport program with the Extreme E. They signed two talented rally drivers, Foust and Emma Gilmour, and put them on the first round in Neom, Saudi Arabia, with just a few days of testing behind them. Scorched by the sun of the Arabian desert, it was tested by fire.
The duo performed well in their debut, advancing to the final round and finishing in fifth place. As the Extreme E heads into another desert halfway across the globe to stage four, it’s time to catch up with Faust and ask about McLaren’s progress. Last weekend in one of the most extreme regions of the world – the Atacama Desert – the Copper X Prix competition was held.
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“The shock in the first race was the speed,” Faust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than what we tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles an hour [in race trim] and our test speeds were more in the 60 to 70 mile range. Then when we sort of got around that, the car was upgraded so you can drive it even faster.”
In rally racing, some incidents are beyond the control of the driver. Even peeking out from behind another car can be dangerous due to potholes that have recently been dug into the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout between the circles. A couple of flips got Foust back on the ground, but the speed was there, and that was important.
“We’ve had some issues this season,” Fust said ahead of the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; reached the final, which is not easy to do in this series. I had two throws in the first three competitions, but each time I added. Now we come into the 4th round in Chile with a pretty strong position. We have competitive moments in the team. We communicate and think very well about this Odyssey car.”
Fust’s words proved to be prophetic.
He won the Crazy Race – the Extreme E version of the Last Chance qualifier – and did so after clearing the course. Similarly, he reached the Saudi Arabian final, but this time it was better. There were those hard-earned lessons to draw on, and Fust had representatives behind him. He wasn’t about to be taken by surprise by any random obstacles.
In the Copper X Prix final, he put pressure on one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.
At the end of his stretch, after pitching sideways through a tight southpaw, Fust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastian Loeb as they headed into the switch zone. There he will hand over the car to his navigator Gilmour.
The Extreme E series is designed for male and female drivers, and both are behind the wheel.
After a driver change, Gilmour momentarily lost the lead to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutiérrez, but as they raced to the finish line, she took the lead and slipped under the checkers first.
“What an improvement for the team compared to this year,” Fust said after the race. “We struggled with some events being in the first year of competition. This weekend we showed real pace; Overtaking Sebastian Loeb was a highlight.
“Emma did a great job in the final. I was lucky enough to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then to first in the final, but with some penalty flags, 20 seconds were added to our time, putting us in fifth place. It was great to cross the finish line first, I love this wide track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.
“Hopefully we can continue that momentum in Uruguay.”
Loeb and Gutierrez climbed to the top of the podiumbut the feeling of going under checkers first cannot be taken away.
Since the invention of automobiles, racing has played a socially responsible role in improving safety. As the Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing must adapt to these new needs and demands, and this is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.
The Extreme E experience is about more than just racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to repair the damage caused by climate change and erase the footprints caused by the events.
Faust, a biologist at the University of Colorado, had the opportunity to rekindle his interest and pay tribute to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.
Atacama is the oldest desert in the world, dating back 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth with the highest levels of ultraviolet radiation. Yet somehow life continues through underground rivers with oases dating back to Inca times. Fust was involved in preparing the local habitat for the reintroduction of the endangered water frog into Chile’s longest river, the Loa, meandering through the desert.
“I love this experience,” Faust said. “I put on a lot of chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I would never have come here otherwise.
“Honestly, I am honored to be a part of this sport. I firmly believe that motorsport has benefited us over the past 100 years. I think we win every…