Mario Andretti: Franck Montagny should be banned for life

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Racing legend Mario Andretti feels that disgraced driver Franck Montagny should be permanently banned from the sport after he tested positive for a cocaine derivative recently.

In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt, Mario tells reporter Simon Pausch that if he had his way, Montagny’s career would be over.

“It is a big disappointment for us all, as he also endangered every other driver on the track,” he says in the Welt piece. “What he did is unforgivable in our sport.”

Montagny most recently competed in the first two races of the 2014-15 FIA Formula E season for Andretti Autosport, which is run by Mario’s son and former open-wheel standout Michael Andretti.

He has also made several one-off appearances for Michael’s team in the Verizon IndyCar Series over the course of his career.

Andretti Formula E had to call in Indy Lights driver Matthew Brabham to replace Montagny for Round 3 in Uruguay (at the time, the Frenchman cited a health issue as the reason for his absence there). For last weekend’s Round 4 in Buenos Aires, Michael’s son, IndyCar veteran Marco, took over the team’s second car and finished 13th.

Despite Montagny’s failed test, Mario feels that doping is far from widespread in the sport and that current anti-doping regulations in place are doing what they’re designed to do.

“There are always some black sheep,” Mario conceded, “but there is no doping or drug problem in racing. The fact that Montagny was busted just shows that the control system works.”

It must be noted, however, that Montagny has yet to face official sanctions from the FIA.

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.