Supercross title contender reveals he’s been battling shingles virus

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Ken Roczen revealed in an Instagram post Friday that he has been battling a case of shingles while trying to win his first Supercross 450 championship.

Since the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series restarted its season May 31, Roczen has only one podium (a third in the first race) in four starts at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

In his past three starts, he has finished fifth, 10th and fifth while dropping to third in the standings, 29 points behind leader Eli Tomac with three events remaining.

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Roczen has been starting well but fading in the second half of the 20-minute events, and he said after Wednesday’s race that he was “trying to hang in there” after battling a viral flareup.

He elaborated on Instagram, disclosing he had tested positive for shingles last Sunday after battling a respiratory-type virus for much of the season. “I know everyone is sick of hearing it and so am i,” Roczen wrote. “Unfortunately those are things i can’t control. I can assure you I am doing my part to be ready and live healthy and doing all the things I can control.”

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SLC 4 was a bit better. Speed is great and i feel pretty good on the bike. 2 days is not enough time to get everything lined up again after a disaster race. As everyone knows i have been dealing with the virus for a while now and it also turned out i tested positive for shingles last Sunday. I know everyone is sick of hearing it and so am i. Unfortunately those are things i can’t control. I can assure you i am doing my part to be ready and live healthy and doing all the things i can control. Huge thank you to all my partners that have always supported me in these last few years and continue to do so πŸ€™πŸ½πŸ¦Ύ @honda_racing_us @redbull @foxracing @gopro @breitling @canyon_na πŸ“Έ

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Prior to Supercross’ 85-day layoff for the novel conronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Roczen trailed Tomac by three points through 10 of 17 rounds after winning three events.

Supercross will return to action tonight with Round 15 at Rice-Eccles Stadium (7 p.m., NBCSN).

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.