Roberts Back in World Championship

Henny Ray Abrams | July 7, 2009

Kenny Roberts expects to be back in the MotoGP paddock in 2010, but not in the premier class. Instead Roberts will be one of the chosen few to field a team for the inaugural season of Moto2 racing. And he’ll do it with a chassis of his own design.”That’s why I’m excited about Moto2 because the format is the way it should be,” Roberts said. “They haven’t done anything yet that shoots them in the foot, though I’m still eagerly awaiting that. So far it appears they are doing the right stuff to make a team profitable and it having life after you put a sticker on it.”Roberts closed down his race shop in Banbury, England at the end of the 2007 season, his last year in MotoGP. That year team ran a Honda RC211V motor in his own chassis, but the effort was underfunded, they couldn’t afford updates, it affected their competitiveness, so he pulled the plug. But he hasn’t given up on owning a race team. He’s been in negotiations to return to the MotoGP grid as part of a much larger project that involves a Las Vegas casino and several other motorsports disciplines, but that endeavor has dragged on for years.”We still have a skeleton crew and we still have the equipment in England to build a chassis, but I’m not sure [where it would be built],” he said. “We’d certainly design it in England, but probably build it somewhere else. That’s yet to be determined.”The new chassis would be based on an existing Team Roberts design for a 600cc track day bike, but adapted for the control Honda 600cc motor.”It was a Triumph three-cylinder at the time, but all the seat and tank and all that stuff is done,” he said. “It will probably take us three months to have a motorcycle once I say ‘go.’ We’ve got the CAD from Honda and that’s really easy for us. All that stuff is still in place and designing it and making it is really easy for us. The first one might be made in England and then we transfer it. I’m looking for a two or three-year deal and not a one-year deal.”Roberts said he was “looking for partners rather than sponsors [in Moto2 while the Las Vegas project is] still up in the air. “I’m kind of on my own working on Moto2 and I think the class works.”I’d like to get a couple of young American riders [for the two-rider team]. Getting them young enough or late enough so they can win. We want to be up front, because it’s rough selling if you’re not up front.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.