Andretti and Perez excited for United States GP in Austin

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Mario Andretti and Sergio Perez have both spoken exclusively to NBCSN about their excitement for the United States Grand Prix, which is set to take place at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas this November.

Since returning to the calendar at COTA in 2012, the race has been a great success, welcoming fans from all over the world. The event has also proven to be a hit with the drivers and teams, and for Andretti, 2014 could prove to be the best race yet.

“Well obviously hopefully better than ever,” he said when asked by NBCSN’s Will Buxton how the race would be this year. “This started out as a huge success, and we want to gain momentum every year, more and more.

“We’re excited about it. The buzz is out there.”

Andretti is visiting Monza for the first time in 31 years this weekend to promote the race, and has been giving out Stetson hats to all of the drivers to get them in the Texan spirit.

“I’m here as a sheriff to officially welcome again the drivers as my deputies! As you can see, I’ll be giving them one of these hats [Stetsons] so they can play the part when they come to Texas, so they look like they’re Texans and enjoy the hospitality.”

Andretti was on hand to commentate on a sim race between Buxton and Force India driver Sergio Perez, which you can watch in this weekend’s episode of Paddock Pass.

For Perez, the race is also an important one. In the absence of a Mexican Grand Prix, Austin acts as his home event given that it is so close to the border, allowing flocks of Mexican fans to make the trip over.

“Yeah it is, really close to my home,” Perez said. “Right now it’s probably my home race because it’s so close and so many Mexicans come to watch the race, so it’s really a great weekend for me where I receive a lot of support.”

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.