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Kenny Roberts and the YZR500 at Laguna Seca (with video)

Closing in on 60 years old, three-time 500cc GP champion Kenny Roberts trotted out his title winning Yamaha YZR500 for a demonstration lap at Laguna Seca earlier this year.  The video below is well worth watching (if you haven’t seen it yet, it has been out for about a week).  Roberts still likes to twist the throttle hard.


  1. RD says:

    I’m sure my buddy Micheal Barnes (still grinding away after 20+ years in the AMA) would disagree with the broken bones comment above. Was awesome to hear that old dog ripping. I loved Kenny’s first words after he got off. “IT WAS RICH” LOL Pig wouldn’t even wheelie for him

  2. Fat Billy says:

    I was at Indianapolis and saw him ride the TZ 750 dirt tracker on the mile. He was flying on the track. He offered Valentino Rossi a ride and Rossi declinded. Kenny said Yamaha didn’t pay him enough money to ride the thing. It was outlawed bt the AMA. He started last at the Indy race 30 yrs ago and passed everyone to win by 1/2 a bike link. Riding these two bikes at near 60 says a lot about King Kenny.

  3. JB says:

    Let’s not forget Cal Rayburn on his big V-twin taking on the Yamaha World Champion at the Race of the Year in 1972. That maybe the start of American interest in MotoGP.

  4. Matt says:

    Nice video,except for the background music. Let the 2 stroke sound be the background music!

  5. Morris Bethoven says:

    150 hp in a 200 pound chassis! That ought to be enough excitement for any 60 year old. He seems to be handling it well, though.

  6. Joel says:

    A good friend of mine and I saw Mr. Roberts riding the TZ750 at the Indy Mile in ’09 and that is without question, the coolest, most impressive and awe inspiring motorsports event I’ve ever seen. He would have easily made the Main that night. My friend and I also had the good fortune of meeting him after the MotoGP race the next day. He humbly accepted our handshakes as we congratulated him on those incredible laps aboard the TZ. I would have loved to see him ride the YZR too. He looks as good on tarmac as he does on the dirt!!

  7. Stinky says:

    Long live the King. I wish he still had the fire in his belly for motorcycles that he now has for golf. LOOOOOVE those 2 strokes. Too bad we had to put them in mueseums. If they’re only gonna be racebikes and never make production why the 4 stroke movement?

  8. craigj says:

    Kenny looks like he could still ride and be competitive. Kenny Jr looks like he needs to lay off the cheeseburgers.

  9. Tim says:

    Awesome video. You gotta love that two stroke sound. I could almost smell the blue smoke from here.

  10. RAD says:

    For those of you who have not seen Peter Starrs film , Take It To The Limit its a must see.
    Some fantastic footage and interviews with King Kenny.

  11. MGNorge says:

    Something like this would be great to see but with other period bikes. However, I don’t see today’s bikes as being over engineered. It’s a progression in technological know how and I’m all for it. If it were true that today’s bikes make even mediocre riders look good that should please those that believe that all the riders must be riding around on the very same bikes. MotoGP is supposed to be an open class, a “Let’s see what you got” class. That not only means the rider but the machinery. This is where the factories show their stuff. I say bring it on!

  12. CIvanyi says:

    Too cool to see. That man is largely responsible for my longterm love affair with Yamaha. I owned a Kenny Roberts garbed RZ350, and currently have a KR colored FZ1. Beautiful to see that he still has it! Bravo, Kenny!!!

  13. Tom says:

    When men were men and motorbikes were motorbikes

    • JeffMess says:

      Agreed; too many over-engineered bikes out there. Some of them are so good, they
      make mediocre riders look good. Luckily I think the trend is reversing somewhat. Let’s
      hope for a return to simplicity and good old fashioned fun (and broken bones).

      • Scott in the UK says:

        Why wish for broken bones? My favourite era of racing was 1985 – 1995 but too many of those guys paid for our vicarious thrills with permanent limps and missing fingers and toes. Yeah it was great racing, but at what cost? And where are the mediocre riders out there on the MotoGP grid? If people that win the WSB go to MotoGP and do poorly – are they mediccre? Is Ben Spies mediocre? (IMHO he’s good but learning).

        • Scott in the UK says:

          Really nice to see the man who started Kenny on his path to world domination get a few words in – Kel Carruthers, Gladesville boy (like me) and an old biker compadre of my late father. They use to do some mad things on the Sydney streets late at night……

      • baldheadeddork says:

        I know broken bones may not seem like much (especially when they’re not yours) but Wayne Rainey wasn’t sitting down in that tape because he was tired.

        • Scott in the UK says:

          Indeed. Every single damn one of them used to limp in those days from frequent crashes. And far more guys careers were finished by a crash in those days, than by just being not on the pace (as in these days).