Marquez: Truce with Rossi ‘important for motorcycle racing’

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Marc Marquez believes that the end to his long-running feud with MotoGP rival Valentino Rossi is “important for motorcycle racing” after a truce was called on Sunday.

The two riders have been embroiled in a war of words for the past year after Rossi accused Honda’s Marquez of conspiring with Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the race for last year’s riders’ championship.

Rossi and Marquez enjoyed a close fight for victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday at the end of an emotional weekend for motorcycle racing.

Moto2 rider Luis Salom died at the age of 24 on Friday after crashing in practice, leaving the entire MotoGP paddock in mourning.

“It has been a hard weekend for all the riders, but in the end I think that together we paid tribute to Luis Salom with the Sunday that he deserved,” Marquez said after the race, having finished second behind Rossi.

“It was a nice race with Valentino. I was suffering a little with the increase in temperature and was never completely comfortable, so I was unable to try overtaking at the right time.

“I had a couple of scares and started doing the math for the standings in my head, knowing that Jorge Lorenzo was out of the race, and I think that in the end, a podium finish is a very positive result for the championship.”

After the race, Marquez and Rossi shared a handshake on the podium before calling an end to their feud, something that the Spaniard believes to be an important step.

“Another thing that’s important for motorcycle racing is that Valentino and I shook hands,” Marquez said.

“It was probably the weekend and the right situation to do so.”

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”