Stoffel Vandoorne returns to ART for second season of GP2

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Belgian ace Stoffel Vandoorne will return to the GP2 Series championship for a second season with ART Grand Prix, the team announced Wednesday.

He should enter the season as clear championship favorite.

“In the wake of a great season in 2014, I am very happy to continue with ART Grand Prix in GP2,” Vandoorne said in a release. “We showed we are the team to beat and many of our competitors have already pointed to us as their target, it’s normal and rather flattering.

“I am confident because it will be my second year with a fantastic team that I know well. Apart from the DRS, the regulations won’t change and I now have experience of the circuits, races, pit stops and tire management. The objective is clear: we want to win the title.”

Team manager Sebastien Philippe also praised Vandoorne’s ability.

“The results of our first collaboration with Stoffel in GP2 in 2014 speak louder than words!” he said. “He is part of that breed of naturally talented drivers, who work hard and are brilliant technically. He is instantly able to adapt in a professional context so he can make the most of the car and his colleagues.

“His personal qualities are also strong with his high ambitions similar to that of ART Grand Prix. After an outstanding first year where he missed out on the title by very little, it makes sense that we continue this partnership in the quest for the title in 2015.”

Vandoorne was a star for his rookie season in the championship and ended second to Jolyon Palmer. He also served as McLaren’s reserve driver, and was the first to have an official outing in the team’s new Honda-powered car at the Abu Dhabi postseason test.

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.