RacerXOnline.com is reporting that after more than half a decade with Honda HRC, Ken Roczen is a free agent heading into 2023. The announcement was first made by Roczen on James Stewart’s “Bubba’s World” podcast Thursday. Roczen has been riding for Honda in supercross and motocross since 2017 with seven top-five points’ results, including a runner-up in the 2019 Lucas Oil Motocross championship and the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series.
According to a statement from Honda, an offer made to Roczen that included a stipulation he would not “compete in a series that has positioned itself as a direct competitor to our supercross and motocross racing partners” was declined by the rider and his team. In July, Roczen announced he would compete in the three-race pilot season of the World Supercross (WSX) championship.
“It’s a funky feeling, but basically I am a free agent at this point which is kind of crazy,” Roczen said on the podcast. “I’ve never been in that position. But it was ultimately these races that I committed to, these overseas races, and it’s not three anymore, it’s two. I haven’t raced over in Europe in a long time, I’ve never been to Australia. For me, the decision to race those races was fairly easy. Especially this late in my career, it was the right time.
“It’s just been way too long and since this isn’t a full series yet, I had the opportunity to make that deal. Which was a shocker to me, Honda decided to pull the offer that they gave me a week or a couple of weeks ago, which by the way, was a great offer. I mean, if I wanted to go after the money, then that would have been the smart thing to do. But I have committed to these races, and I just didn’t feel comfortable at all to leave fans hanging.”
Honda responded by saying that the offer was not pulled by them.
“In light of recent comments, we felt the need to clarify a couple of points,” Brandon Wilson, American Honda Manager of Sports & Experiential, said. “We were looking forward to continuing with Ken in 2023, and we recently made him an offer of a contract extension. That offer has never been rescinded, but it was declined by Ken and his team.”
Honda HRC is not one of 10 race teams chartered in the WSX.
And it has not yet been announced for which team Roczen will compete in the inaugural WSX race in Cardiff, Wales that is scheduled in three weeks on October 8, 2022.
“The offer that I got was basically for supercross 2023 and supercross only,” Roczen went on to say. “It was for great money. Everything made sense, and I was very appreciative that that happened. Unfortunately, I made this deal that I had with World Supercross months and months ago. … I was in contract yes with Honda, but we had a mutual agreement that hey, we’re not a big fan of this but for this year, it’s a startup and things like that, that they were going to be okay with it. So, we didn’t worry about anything. And at that point, when we made this deal, I didn’t even have an offer yet or anything for the next year.”
The winner of the last two motocross titles and the 2022 250 East supercross championship, Jett Lawrence is scheduled to graduate into the 450 class with Honda for the 2023 motocross season.