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Marc Marquez signs new two-year Honda MotoGP deal

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Two-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez has signed a new two-year contract with Honda that ensures he will remain with the Japanese manufacturer until the end of 2018.

Marquez made his MotoGP debut with Honda back in 2013, winning the championship in his rookie season before following it up with another title in 2014.

The Spaniard long-stated that he wanted to remain with Honda for the foreseeable future despite a number of other rider moves for 2017 making other seats available.

On Thursday, Honda announced that it had agreed a new deal with Marquez, locking him in for another two seasons.

“I’m very happy to announce this renewal with HRC, especially coinciding with Grand Prix of Catalunya, my home GP, where I have some really good memories,” Marquez said.

“HRC and I have a very strong relationship, and I’ve always wanted to continue being a part of the Repsol Honda Team. In three and a half years together, we’ve enjoyed some unbelievable moments, with great victories and two world titles, as well as a few challenging moments that I believe are making us stronger.

“We’re working very hard this year to regain the title. It’s a great honor to be a part of the Honda family, and I’m glad to remain with this special group of people for another two seasons.”

Honda Racing Corporation vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto added: “We’re honored to have reached an agreement with Marc for two more years. There’s no doubt that he is the present and future of MotoGP.

“We know him well and he knows us well, and we both wanted to continue together; for this reason, we felt no rush for this renewal.

“Marc has grown a lot during almost four years with HRC, and now he’s an even more complete rider than in 2014, when he won 10 races in a row.

“Although he’s still very young, we already have a long relationship together, and we know that Marc’s experience is very important for helping our engineers to develop our bike.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.