Dapero, Juncos win while Telitz, O’Ward collide in Pro Mazda race 2

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

MONTEREY, Calif. – A two-hour delay only served to delay the drama for the second of three races in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires championship weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Nicolas Dapero of Juncos Racing captured his first career win, the teenaged Argentine doing an excellent job to keep his nose clean, then defend from teammate Will Owen to put Ricardo Juncos’ team on the top step of the podium for the first time in 2016. It also extends Juncos’ win streak to eight years in a row since the team debuted in 2009.

Meanwhile the story of the day in the 30-minute race was the championship battle between Team Pelfrey teammates Aaron Telitz and Pato O’Ward, with a collision between the two on the first lap drastically altering the battle.

From pole, Telitz saw his eight-point lead (371-363) grow to nine at the start of the race.

But O’Ward, who had a run around the outside of him through Turn 2, got contacted by Telitz and went over his car, which damaged his left rear suspension and resigned him to the pits.

For the contact, Telitz was assessed a drive-through penalty, and dropped from the lead down to 11th place.

However, Telitz would recover back to fifth place, following a Corkscrew collision between the third member of Team Pelfrey, TJ Fischer, and the third member at Juncos, Jake Parsons, on Lap 12 when battling over second place.

Fischer ran off course through the corner apex, while Parsons attempted to pass around the outside before making contact.

It brought Owen up to second and Nico Jamin of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing up to third.

Telitz had carved through slower cars driven by Kory Enders, Bobby Eberle and Daniel Swanbeck, the last of whom proved the most difficult to get past, to get up to eighth place before the yellow.

Once Parsons and Fischer were out of the way, Telitz made one final move of Moises de la Vara to get from sixth to fifth, but was unable to catch Joseph Burton-Harris for fourth.

With this result, Telitz unofficially has a 11-point lead (389-378), with O’Ward also gaining two points after his team repaired his car and got him back out to 10th place.

Owing to the morning delay for the schedule, the third and final race of the weekend is set to take place at 3:35 p.m. PDT and local time. Telitz will again have the pole position.

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.