World champion Sebastien Ogier wins Rally of Germany

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TRIER, Germany (AP) World champion Sebastien Ogier won the Rally of Germany for the third time Sunday, extending his championship lead to 59 points.

Ogier, who claimed the lead Saturday when he crafted a 33.4-second advantage over Volkswagen teammate Andreas Mikkelsen, controlled his pace on the final four stages to win by 20.3 seconds from Hyundai driver Dani Sordo.

“This is great,” Ogier said after his first victory since the Rally of Sweden ended his six-event winless streak. “I haven’t had a chance to win on the recent rallies and I was missing that feeling for sure. It’s been really exciting and a long time since I was battling like this for a win. I really had to push to beat the guys around me.”

Sordo was involved in a three-way battle for second place with just 4.1 seconds separating the Spaniard from Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Mikkelsen of Norway going into the rally-ending Power Stage.

Neuville won the stage to claim three bonus points, Jari-Matti Latvala was second and Ogier third ahead of Sordo and Mikkelsen.

Sordo finished 0.1 seconds ahead of Neuville, while previous rally leader Mikkelsen had to settle for fourth place overall. Mikkelsen had 110 points after nine races. Four remain.

Stephane Lefebvre and co-driver Gabin Moreau’s race ended Saturday when they crashed heavily on the 40.8-kilometer Panzerplatte stage.

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.