Talking to MotoGP.com this weekend at the Indianapolis GP, Kenny Roberts Sr. admitted to the website that he is working on putting together a new GP program for the 2014 or 2015 season — though was quick to caution against the project’s full-fruition.

“We’re working on it. And we’re working on something quite big – it’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to be almost there. When we come back we’ll come back in a big way! And if you don’t see me, you’ll know we didn’t get it done,” said King Kenny.

What the GP legend means from his words, we can only infer, though the prospect of the Godfather of American road racing returning to the premier series of motorcycle racing bodes well for the wealth of racing talent that we have domestically.

Young American riders desperately need an avenue out of the AMA Pro Road Racing series, which has lost its place as the happy hunting ground for GP teams looking for fresh and up-and-coming racers.

With few options in place to move out of America and into World Superbike or Grand Prix racing, riders like Jake Gagne, Benny Solis, Cameron Beaubier, and so forth will watch their talents waste away in the beleaguered series, while their foreign counterparts prosper.

With preparation for the next season already underway, Roberts suggested that 2014 may be too soon to see his return, if the racing project even gets off the ground in the first place. Instead, 2015 seems like a more likely arrival date.

“It’s getting to the point where 2014’s maybe tough, but again…if it’s a big way, we can probably get it done. Any longer than the next month or so, I don’t think it’s possible for ‘14,” said King Kenny.

For the sake of American motorcycle race fans, and for the sake of the sport, we really hope that the pieces of this puzzle fall into place. Another competitive entry on the GP grid, along with a clear avenue for American racers to come up through the racing ranks is just what we needed.

Source: MotoGP.com

  • smiler

    Hopefully not with a leaky bike with a flat front tire. Seems odd to say that only an American team can promote American talent. If that was the case Spies, Bayliss, Edwards, Bradl, Cal and others would not have made it to MotoGP or WSBK.
    However KR seems to be a shrewd manager and if he gets a good offer then no doubt he can succeed. Dorna are really trying hard. Not doubt a queue of Spanish riders will form outside KR’s motorhome!

  • Tim

    I am glad to hear the King wants to get involved. My question is in what type of team is he working on? All American Talent?
    Factory Bikes? Since MotoGP says that Honda & Yamaha can run 4 bikes per team
    CRT/2014 Evolution of the CRT Program
    Team Suzuki?

    I have to say if he does put together a team it’s going to be based around Yamaha and Yamaha only. This year a Suzuka 8hrs he was more active on the Track, Grid and Paddock then he has been in years. He Did a Parade Lap/Laps on his 1985 Yamaha FZR 750 OW74 TECH21 Shiseido Racing Team and on his YZR500 V4 two-stroke

  • Michael

    Would LOVE to see KR Sr back on the grid! Can only imagine he’s talking about getting a full Yamaha package with the spec ECU. With the right team behind him that seems like a fairly competitive package. Please Yamaha give them the full spec engine with seamless gearbox. Especially if he can land a title sponsor and a pair of good riders. Imagine if KR could grab Nicky? His package would instantly be more marketable to sponsors. Maybe throw in an up and comer (and Spaniard) like Aliex Espargaro and this team would be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Damo

    Cameron Beaubier NEEDS to get a chance to race internationally. The kid is far and away the best rising talent we have here in North America. Throw a helmet on him and give a chance at the big leagues.

  • JW

    This is really great news. Why not have an American force in a sport that is out of balance in this area. With 3 races a year in the US. this will bring more fans to the sport which I am sure Dorna is very keen on. I believe a Roberts team will also boost road racing in general in the USA.

  • MikeG81

    C’mon KR, punch out that Proton to 750cc’s and give it a direct injection system.

    I’d pay good money to watch it pull an RCV.

  • G.Irish

    If KR is looking to help Americans succeed on the international level then what he needs to do is run a Moto 2 and Moto 3 effort. If the current young guns in the US could get a strong ride in those classes and perform well, it would stamp their ticket to the premier class.

    Only downside is that the sponsor value in Moto2 and Moto3 does not compare in any way, shape, or form to Moto GP, so it’s difficult to say whether KRSR can get a sponsorship package together to do that. Maybe he can get the Moto GP effort started first, then field an effort in the lower classes.

  • Frank.E

    ‘Cameron Beaubier NEEDS to get a chance to race internationally. The kid is far and away the best rising talent we have here in North America. Throw a helmet on him and give a chance at the big leagues.’

    Completely agree Damo. Cameron is far and away the best rising talent in the USA. Mentions of Hayden on the team would be cool, but if only as a mentor for a young rockstar like Beaubier. I could see him growing a lot more with stronger competition.

    I watched Joey Roberts have some poor luck at COTA in the Red Bull Rookies series and continue to struggle in that class. Now he’s back in AMA at the supersport level and is blowing everyone away. He hasn’t lost a race yet to my knowledge. Without visibility and viable options for the future of our young riders, our talent pool will shrink and the level of skill will diminish as well. I’m sure there a number of reasons Roberts returned to the states but it wasn’t a step forward in the dreams of reaching MotoGP. All riders are different though and have different aspirations. Beaubier raced alongside Marc Marquez in Red Bull Rookies. It’d be nice to see them on the same track someday soon.

  • phs

    My bet is Nicky on a Yamaha racing for KR. Hence the “get it done in the next month or not happening” statement.

  • Yeah. At the risk of seeming churlish, why is it that people remember KR’s glory days as a rider, and success as a manager, but failure as a team *owner*? What I had to say in 2005 still goes: http://backmarker-bikewriter.blogspot.com/2011/01/best-of-backmarker-day-king-kenny.html

  • I’m biased (KR fan), but it’s tough to say, I think, that KR was a failure as an owner. He was a successful owner, but the Proton itself did not meet expectations as a bike. I would expect KR to do quite well with a team around a leased M1 package. Given that KR was seen lurking in the Yamaha garage at various times throughout the weekend, it’s fair to assume that his ties with Yamaha are as strong as ever.

  • Norm G.

    I was thinking the possible engine lease of a desmo would be enough to bring KR out of retirement…? :) but this does sound like a Roberts/Hayden/Yamaha dealio.

  • paulus

    Sounds like a ‘fishing for interest’ statement.
    Best of luck to the man… would be great to see him back into motoGP

  • Norm G.

    re: “With 3 races a year in the US. this will bring more fans to the sport which I am sure Dorna is very keen on.”

    time will tell. there are other countries wanting to come on board, and the calendar can only have so many rounds. I was at indy. turn out actually didn’t seem too bad on race day…? may have been the “last race” suggestions, but attendance was definitely down across the weekend compared to previous years.

  • TexusTim

    I loved kenny as a rider one of the reasons I begged and mowed yards all summer to get an rd 350 in 1975, had his posters on my wall and anything he endoresd on my bike…later on in life he started reminding me of my stepfather, mean as hell and never wrong, because of this he wont get many eu riders and there is a slim chance any current motogp rider even nicky would want to ride for him as manager/ owner…he’s just not a riders owner, he is a headstrong person who the fatcorys respect but also loathes in some ways, like this pr attempt to push for decision, it used to work with the japan manufactors not so much anymore I fear, and this may be all we hear of it..or…. maybe not,sound familure ?…lol

  • jr2


    The PR push by KR maybe to push DORNA along not the factories… DORNA funding support of a KR team might be “the deal” KR mentions…

    With the commitment for another year at Indy in 2014 signed, and the “increased” visibility of MotoGP in the US now on a “name brand” Sports Network – the new Fox Sports Network. (face it, naming your channel “Speed” turned out to be branding death…). MIGHT be indicating an attempt by DORNA (et al) to increase the US market by bringing this sport to the larger “stick and ball” sports community.

    So, you have to know your audience… Indy is a “brand name” in the US… Laguna Seca is an unknown outside of motorsports… Austin… that’s where the Hipsters live…

    A person like Roberts, with all this “interesting” personal traits is almost tailor made for US TV (he’s practically a walking reality show already… in a good way, mostly…). US sports fans love characters (to love, or hate) and while there are some characters that would appeal to US appetite (Colin E. Cal C.), in current MotoGP, having more US faces and a “team” is important to DORNA success in the US.

    But this is all my speculation…

  • JoeKing

    @Mark Gardiner

    The idiom….Those who can do, do; those who can’t, tea… err..write.

    Your self-aggrandizing pre-emptive cheap shot at Kenny Robert’s efforts is indeed textbook churlishness.

    What exactly have you added to MotoGP or even attempted? What Kenny Roberts scrapes off his shoe is more significant than anything you have done for the sport.

  • Seems ironic that Joking would call out the validity of a published author on his opinions based on the deeds of another unrelated human being.

    The fact is times have changes since Roberts rode – he needs to find the best talent and back it with the best team to be successful in this venture.

    I like the idea of Cameron because he’s 5’7 133 so he physically falls in line with other great riders and doesn’t seem to yet be afflicted by the same lack of professionalism that many others who aspire to MotoGp seem to have.

  • G.Irish

    KRSR may have had his shortcomings as a team owner but I wouldn’t call him a failure. I think he, like many, found the task of building a competitive bike of his own far more difficult than he had anticipated. Many, many others have been in the same boat and didn’t last more than 2 seasons. Even now, a Ducati has fare more resources than he ever had and they can’t find a way to be competitive.

    But, back in 2006 when they have that RC211V in their bike, not only KRJR finish 6th in the championship, he narrowly missed out on a win due to a lap count mistake. Not even Aprilia got that close.

    I think if Team KR comes back and either builds a Moto2 or Moto3 bike, or builds a MotoGP bike with a prototype engine, they’ll meet with a decent degree of success. Having to engineer your own engine and chassis seems to be a bit too tall of an order for any privateer effort.

  • Norm G.

    re: “re: “With 3 races a year in the US. this will bring more fans to the sport which I am sure Dorna is very keen on.”

    ps: dorna doesn’t give a rat’s. he’s keen on whoever pays the sanctioning fee. once that’s done, he’s made his money. he could care less if the event is a financial success for the track owner. and if it’s not…? no biggie, he’ll just “dangle the carrot” in front of another country. like a broker’s fee, whether the stock wins or loses on the sale, he still WINS.

  • G.Irish

    @Norm G
    Carmelo is not that greedy and short-sighted. From what I recall, he’s made deals with tracks on occassion to lower the sanctioning fee and he hasn’t signficantly raised the fees for anyone. He’s made concessions to get tracks on the calendar (like Laguna and Indy) unlike Formula 1, which has done the opposite.

    Ezpeleta may not be best the custodian of Moto GP but he is far less greedy and capricious than Bernie Ecclestone.

  • Bob

    It would be great to see Kenny Roberts back and more Americans on the grid. To have any chance of quick results and gain sponsors KR really needs Nicky Haydon. Nicky is vastly experienced, has a great work ethic and is a tough rider. Nicky won’t need to learn the tracks and he is used to riding a 250 bhp MotoGP machine. I would love to see Nicky continue in the top league and he deserves a decent shot at being competitive again. Apart from Nicky a current Moto 2 rider would be good to develop any new bike.

    There is no way an AMA rider would be competitive in MotoGP without two or three seasons experience even on an established machine.