Red Bull’s Marko says he proposed Formula One coronavirus camp

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VIENNA — Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko proposed holding a training camp where Formula One drivers could get infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but the team rejected the idea.

Marko told Austrian public broadcaster ORF on Sunday he wanted to gather drivers while the F1 season was suspended.

“We have four Formula One drivers, we have eight or 10 juniors, and the idea was to hold a camp where we could bridge this rather dead time mentally and physically,” Marko said.

“And then it would be ideal, because these are all young, strong men in really good health, if the infection comes then. Then they would be equipped, if it starts up again, for a really hard world championship.”

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Marko said the idea “was not accepted positively” within Red Bull and was abandoned.

It wasn’t immediately clear if by “four Formula One drivers” Marko meant Red Bull’s two drivers and two reserves, or the two drivers from sister team Alpha Tauri.

Marko praised Red Bull driver Max Verstappen for throwing himself into the world of online racing to stay sharp, and said the drivers were focusing on their fitness.

“Max Verstappen is having more races than in a regular season,” Marko said. “If we come to a season with 15 or 18 races, it will be very hard and there won’t be a chance to rebuild the conditioning.”

The first eight races of the season have been canceled or postponed, leaving the Canadian Grand Prix in June as the first event still on the schedule. That could be followed by a packed string of scheduled and rearranged races.

The season-opening Australian GP was canceled.

The 76-year-old Marko, who raced in F1 in the 1970s, acknowledged he could be at risk for COVID-19.

“I belong to the high-risk group, but I’m not frightened,” he said. “I respect it.”

Marko added he had what he thought was a “heavy cold” in February but now thinks it could have been coronavirus symptoms.

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.