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Kenny Roberts to Build 500 V4

The legendary Kenny Roberts thought he had a great idea a few years ago when he left Yamaha to develop his own motorcycle for 500 cc GP racing – a three cylinder. Roberts thought that he could win with a three cylinder, largely due to a weight advantage over the V4 500’s.

Roberts also remembers being beaten by Freddie Spencer on a Honda three cylinder in his racing days.

To call Roberts’ experience with his three cylinder “experiment” a nightmare would not be far from the truth. The bike he has developed has never been truly competitive, and he has had trouble keeping qualified riders interested in racing it.

This year alone, his own son Kenny Roberts, Jr. switched to the Suzuki team and has been winning races on its V4 500 (something he couldn’t do on his father’s team). Additionally, Jean-Michel Bayle (one of his current riders contracted to ride the three cylinder) has mysteriously disappeared from time to time, apparently frustrated at the three cylinder bike’s inability to run at the front of the pack.

Recent reports indicate that Roberts may be ready to ditch the three cylinder project in favor of his own V4. There is no doubt that Roberts and his team of engineers know what they are doing, and, perhaps, next year Roberts’ team will be wining races with a much more competitive motor in their chassis.