MotoGP will begin season in July; COTA date now unconfirmed

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After a delay of more than four months, MotoGP announced Thursday that its premier division will begin the 2020 season July 19 at the Jerez circuit in Spain.

The series said in a release that it will hold a minimum of 13 races this year from July through November with possibly four additional races held outside Europe through Dec. 13.

That includes the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas that originally had been rescheduled from April 3-5 to Nov. 13-15 in Austin, Texas. MotoGP’s revised schedule now lists its Nov. 15 race as being held in Valencia, Spain.

On the updated schedule, Circuit of the Americas is one of four tracks without confirmed dates.

The MotoGP release said those tracks (also including Thailand, Argentina and Malaysia) will be confirmed by July 31. A request for comment from COTA wasn’t immediately returned Thursday.

“All dates, events and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities,” according to the MotoGP release Thursday.

MotoGP’s Moto2 and Moto3 divisions were able to begin their seasons in Qatar (where Joe Roberts became the first American on pole position in 10 years), but the support classes also have been sidelined since March by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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.