After disagreeing with Honda HRC on a contract for 2023, Ken Roczen officially became a free agent this off-season. The #94 went and tested several machines—a Fire Power Parts Honda CRF450R, Kawasaki KX450, Suzuki RM-Z450, and the all-new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F, as well as the not-yet-AMA-valid Stark Varg electric motorcycle—as he wanted to test the waters on the different 450cc platforms before making his decision. Now, the German native will lineup for AMA Supercross and Motocross on a different brand for the first time since January 2017. The two-time 450 Class AMA Motocross Champion he will compete aboard a HEP Motorsports Suzuki RM-Z450 in 2023.
Roczen claimed the 2016 AMA Pro Motocross Championship aboard a Soaring Eagle Casino/Jimmy John's RCH Suzuki RM-Z450 and then moved to Honda HRC for the 2017 season. Roczen tested the HEP Suzuki RM-Z450 recently and was reportedly very pleased with the setup and feel of the machine. The team has taken big strides lately, bringing on Larry Brooks as team manager and Progressive Insurance on board as a major sponsor. Now, Roczen is back as a member of RM-Army, as he will make his AMA Supercross debut with the team on January 7.
The following press release is from the Suzuki team:
H.E.P. Motorsports Inks Ken Roczen For 2023!
H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season. 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.
“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.” said Roczen, “ I have a lot of confidence in Suzuki and the H.E.P. Motorsports program and I am excited to finally get the new year going with a fresh start. From the moment I got on the bike I felt right at home. It has been a welcome surprise how quickly I’ve adapted to the bike and the team. We will be ready to go racing come January 7th.”
A homecoming of sorts, Ken Roczen and Suzuki enjoyed much success in the past including a very successful amateur career in his native Germany on Suzuki motocross machines. Aboard the prior generation Suzuki RM-Z450 Roczen won the AMA 450 Motocross Championship in 2016. Roczen and Suzuki are determined to continue this tradition of success in 2023 on the Suzuki RM-Z450 in Supercross and Motocross competition.
“We are pleased to have Ken back on a Suzuki and part of the RM Army,” said Chris Wheeler, Motorsports Manager for Suzuki Motor USA, LLC. “ Ken’s experience, determination and incredible skill are everything we need to help Suzuki and H.E.P. Motorsports achieve the success we are all striving for in 2023.”
“Everyone is super excited to have Ken Roczen on board” said Dustin Pipes, Team Principal at H.E.P. Motorsports. “Having Ken as part of our team is sure to elevate our performance and we can’t wait to go racing at A1 in January.”
H.E.P. Motorsports will debut the complete team lineup at round 1 of the 2023 Supercross Championship on January 7th, 2023 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. For more team updates and the latest news and insights, visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Motocross or HEPMotorsports.com.