Brendon Hartley to make F1 debut with Toro Rosso in Austin

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Scuderia Toro Rosso has confirmed that Brendon Hartley will make his Formula 1 debut in the United States Grand Prix next weekend, replacing Pierre Gasly.

Toro Rosso has originally planned to race with Gasly and the returning Daniil Kvyat for the final four races of the season following Carlos Sainz Jr.’s early move to Renault, as announced last week.

However, a clash with the Super Formula finale ruled title-contending Gasly out of the race in Austin, leading Toro Rosso to look elsewhere.

Multiple sources indicated to NBC Sports that Porsche factory driver and ex-Red Bull junior Hartley was in the frame for the drive, with confirmation arriving on Friday.

“What an amazing feeling! This opportunity came as somewhat of a surprise, but I never did give up on my ambition and childhood dream to reach F1,” Hartley said.

“I have grown and learnt so much since the days when I was the Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve driver, and the tough years I went through made me stronger and even more determined.

“I want to say a huge thanks to Red Bull for making this a reality, and to Porsche for allowing me to do this alongside the World Endurance Championship.

“COTA is a track I really enjoy and one I have raced at recently. I’m trying not to put too many expectations on my F1 debut, but I feel ready for it.”

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost added: “Scuderia Toro Rosso is very pleased to announce that Brendon Hartley, who has been part of the Red Bull family for a long time in different classes, as well as the test and reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, will now be back racing for us in Austin.

“Brendon is coming as the reigning 24h Le Mans winner and he’s also leading the current FIA LMP1 World Endurance Championship, which he won in 2015 as well.

“We are really happy to have him back in our team. With all the racing experience accumulated over the years, we are convinced that he will do a fantastic job for us.”

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.