Six hours complete at Le Mans

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Racing with heavy hearts after the death of teammate Allan Simonsen in the opening moments of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Aston Martin Racing team is performing admirably as the race crosses the six-hour mark.

In the GTE-Pro category, the No. 99 Aston of Bruno Senna, Robert Bell and Frederic Makowiecki and the No. 97 Aston of Stefan Mucke, Peter Dumbreck and Darren Turner are running first and second in the class, ahead of the two Porsche AG Team Manthey 911s. The third GTE-Pro Aston, the No. 98 for GRAND-AM vets Bill Auberlen, Paul Della Lana and Pedro Lamy, currently sit seventh in the class.

“It’s not easy conditions out there,” Mucke told SPEED Channel after stepping out of the No. 97 following his stint. “We’ve had a lot of safety cars and a lot of dirt on the track…But so far, everything is running good. The team is doing a good job and I think we can be happy.”

As for the remaining Aston in the GTE-Am category (the class that Simonsen was racing in), the No. 96 of Jamie Campbell-Walter, Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall are eighth in the class.

Back up front, the Audi contingent has control of the proceedings, currently holding the top three positions overall with the No. 1 R18 E-Tron Quattro (pictured) of Benoit Treyuler, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler leading their teammates in the No. 2 (Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish) and No. 3 (Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene, and Oliver Jarvis) R18 hybrids. However, the No. 2 camp had a bit of a scare during the fifth hour when the No. 24 Oak Racing LMP2 Morgan-Nissan of David Heinemeier Hansson lost control in front of Duval at the Porsche Curves.

Fortunately for Audi, Duval was able to escape unscathed and continue on; he has since set his fastest lap of the race at 3 minutes, 23.269 seconds on Lap 86 around the massive Circuit de la Sarthe.

In the LMP2 category, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan of John Martin, Roman Rusinov and IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway led the race at the six-hour point, while in GTE-Am, the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Piergiuseppe Perrazini, Darryl O’Young and Lorenzo Case are on top.

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.