MRTI: Multiple USF2000, Pro Mazda teams announce driver signings

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Teams featured in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires had a busy week, as several teams in both series announced drivers for the 2018 season.

Pro Mazda actually sees a couple of new entrants. Exclusive Autosport, which contested last year’s USF2000 season with Parker Thompson, officially revealed that they will be full-time Pro Mazda entrants as well, with Thompson staying on as their driver.

The combination of Thompson and Exclusive Autosport was a potent one in USF2000, winning three times in a four-race stretch between rounds on the streets of Toronto and at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Elsewhere, European team RP Motorsport will make the jump to the United States in the 2018 Pro Mazda season. Race winners in the now defunct Formula 3.5 V8 Series and runaway champions in the 2017 Euroformula Open Championship, they will bring with them Harrison Scott, with whom they won the aforementioned Euroformula Open crown, and Lodovico Laurini.

In USF2000, Pabst Racing announced that 15-year-old Kaylen Frederick has joined them for the 2018 season.

Frederick was one of the surprises of 2017 when, as a 14-year-old when the year started, he scored five podiums on his way to fourth in the championship with Pabst Racing.

Also, Newman Wachs Racing detailed that they have signed F1600 competitor David Osborne, who will join Darren Keane and Oscar Deluzuriaga in a three-car effort.

Pro Mazda and USF2000 begin their 2018 seasons on the streets St. Petersburg, Florida as part the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

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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.