Robert Kubica withdraws before FIA WEC season

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Robert Kubica will not, in fact, take part in the forthcoming FIA World Endurance Championship season with the ByKolles team, as he’d planned to.

The Polish driver was looking set for his return to circuit racing after several years away since his accident in a rally in 2011.

While he’s made several rally returns since, a high-profile entry into the FIA WEC was going to be a jolt in the lone privateer LMP1 entry, the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO chassis.

He and Oliver Webb were the two confirmed drivers announced in February, with a third still yet to be determined for the Boris Bermes-directed operation.

Instead, Kubica has called off the return, in a statement he made via his Facebook page.

“After the Prologue, I have decided to interrupt my racing program with the ByKolles team in LMP1,” Kubica wrote.

“Therefore, I will not take part in the upcoming WEC Silverstone opening round and in the other WEC races. It has been a hard decision to step down and so lose the opportunity to join such a challenging and competitive Championship, but I hope this will not be a definitive goodbye.”

The 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place this weekend with a 27-car grid, the ByKolles car as noted one of only five in LMP1 alongside the pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids and Toyota TS050 Hybrids. Toyota’s third car doesn’t come online until the second round at Spa-Francorchamps.

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.