Total CEO dies in Moscow plane crash

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The CEO of French oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, 63, has died.

According to Reuters, de Margerie’s private jet hit a snow plow when taking off from Moscow on Monday night.

Total has several elements in motorsports; it serves as a sponsor for Lotus’ F1 Team and has been a longtime supporter of Romain Grosjean; it serves as pole sponsor for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship P, PC and GTD classes; and it’s been a longtime rally supporter.

A statement from IMSA’s CEO Ed Bennett reads:

“On behalf of the International Motor Sports Association, I offer our deepest condolences to family and friends of TOTAL CEO Christophe de Margerie, along with the other airplane passengers who tragically passed away yesterday in Russia,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “I also wish to extend condolences to the staff and employees at TOTAL on the loss of their dynamic leader in the oil industry. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Added Pierre Fillon, president of the ACO: “The Automobile Club de l’Ouest was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Christophe de Margerie, the Total CEO. In the name of the ACO and all its collaborators I would like to express my condolences to Mr. de Margerie’s family and close friends, as well as to those of the members of the crew who so tragically died with him. In this terrible time our thoughts are with all the collaborators of the Total Group, a major faithful partner of the ACO and its activities beginning with the Le Mans 24 Hours and its offshoots. A great captain of industry with whom we shared the passion for innovation and mobility for the benefit of everybody has left us.”

Total is both France’s second biggest company overall and fourth largest Western oil company, behind Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron, the Reuters report said.

Whether this will have any impact on Total’s motorsports programs remains to be seen.

For now though, we extend our sympathies.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

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.