New Jersey preparations continuing as planned, per Pook

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As Formula One heads to its final two race weekends of the 2013 season, there’s still the matter of sorting out the final 2014 calendar. It will be ratified at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in December.

Representatives from the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial, slated for June 1, 2014 in Weehawken, N.J., are on site here at Circuit of the Americas this weekend for meetings. Over the last month or so, there’s been an “on-again, off-again” saga about the race depending on which media outlet was doing the reporting.

I spoke briefly on Friday with GPoA special assistant Chris Pook, who was the founding architect of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Pook, who joined the GPoA executive team in May, dismissed suggestions that the race is off.

“There’s a lot of misinformation floating about out there. We’re progressing on planning and moving ahead,” he said en route to further meetings at the circuit.

The race’s provisional date, June 1, falls in-between Monaco on May 25 and Canada June 8. There have also been some questions regarding the Korean (April 27) and Mexican (November 16) races and whether they’ll make the final calendar, as well. All were listed as provisional on the Sept. 27 version of the calendar released by the FIA. Still, with 22 races, it’s likely at least one of the three listed, if not two, will fall off.

The potential exists that the New Jersey date will shift. Sunday, June 15 is open but poses a direct conflict with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, primary event for the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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.