Ecclestone: Sepang could use a “paint job”

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While Formula One leader Bernie Ecclestone hopes he’ll be able to extend the current contract for the Malaysian Grand Prix (due to expire in 2015), the British billionaire is also leaning on race organizers to complete their renovations on the Sepang International Circuit — mentioning that it needed a “paint job.”

“They need to finish what they started,” Ecclestone told The Star of Malaysia. “It is obviously not the same as Singapore. Maybe because they don’t spend the money.”

The Sepang circuit, which can seat up to 130,000 fans and lies south of the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, opened in 1999 with Formula One making its debut there that year. Organizers are currently in the second year of a five-year refurbishment project to the facility, with The Star reporting that the next main priority is the installation of a roof at the track’s paddock area, as well as additional public restrooms and surau, or prayer rooms.

The roof is set to be completed in time for the track’s MotoGP event in October.

However, outside of refurbishing Sepang, Ecclestone appears relatively happy with the Malaysian Grand Prix and wants to keep it on the F1 calendar for a while — telling The Star that “there are no dramas” involved in working with organizers there.

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.