Aussies partying in skimpy briefs arrested at F1 in Malaysia

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) Nine Australians, including a government adviser, have been arrested in Malaysia for stripping down to their briefs and drinking beer from shoes after Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo won the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix, officials said Tuesday.

Government officials confirmed that Jack Walker, adviser to Defense Industry Minister Chris Pyne, was among the men aged 25 to 29 who were arrested after they stripped down to Budgy Smuggler-brand swimsuits decorated with the Malaysian flag in full view of thousands of spectators at the Sepang race track Sunday.

Pyne’s office said the matter was being “handled appropriately” by the Australian High Commissioner in Malaysia.

“Until we have a clearer picture of the process at hand, it would be unwise to comment further,” a government statement said.

District police chief Abdul Aziz Ali said Tuesday that the men were being investigated for “intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace” and public indecency.

He said police would submit a report to prosecutors, who will decide Thursday if the men will be charged. Abdul Aziz told the AP that the men face up to six months in jail, a fine or both if they are found guilty.

Sepang International Circuit chief executive Datuk Razlan Razali told the New Straits Times website the men deserved to be locked up and have action taken against them.

“This shows a huge lack of respect to us as Malaysians; this is stupid behavior from foreigners who have no sense of cultural sensitivity and respect,” he said.

“It embarrasses their own country as well – it gives Australians a bad name,” he said.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the men’s decision to strip down was inappropriate and ill-advised.

“You’re in another nation, you’ve got to be careful in what you do,” Joyce told reporters in Canberra. “But I’m sure – well, I’m hoping – the Malaysians will understand that I don’t think there’s any real malice in it. Stupidity? Obviously. Malice? No.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB the arrests were a reminder for travelers to know local laws and respect them. The government already warns travelers that there are conservative standards of dress and behavior in many parts of Malaysia.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten declined to discuss Walker’s behavior, saying he did not want to jeopardize a complex situation.

“It’s incredibly serious when an Australian gets arrested overseas,” he told reporters.

Don Rothwell, an Australian National University expert on international law, doubted Malaysian authorities would treat the Australians harshly.

“The Malaysian government will be sure to make sure that its international reputation as a tourist destination for the Grand Prix is not too damaged,” Rothwell told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Associated Press writer Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.

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.