MotoGP has confirmed that the no. 58 made famous by Marco Simoncelli during his career has been retired from racing.
Simoncelli died at the age of 24 after an accident during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang in 2011, the penultimate race of his second season in MotoGP.
Simoncelli was also inducted into the MotoGP hall of fame in 2014, his name also being incorporated into that of the Misano World Circuit in Italy in tribute two years earlier.
Ahead of this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano, CEO of MotoGP rights holder Dorna Carmelo Ezpeleta confirmed that the decision had been taken to retire Simoncelli’s iconic no. 58 from racing.
“We talked about the idea to retire the no. 58 for the grid of MotoGP for the future. This is what we are doing today,” Ezpeleta said in a small ceremony ahead of the race weekend with Simoncelli’s father, Paolo (pictured above).
“This number from now belongs to the Simoncelli family. Then we will not use for nobody, unless they decided someone has the honor to use this number.”
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.