Roberts to sit out MotoGP race
In a big change to the planned Team Roberts line-up for this weekend’s Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix, the team will only run a one rider team at Donington Park. The big twist in the tale? The sole rider will not be Kenny Roberts Jr but brother Kurtis.
The team has taken the decision to replace Kenny Roberts Jr until the next new chassis is completed, currently being designed and manufactured at the team’s base in Banbury, England.
“It’s been a difficult start to the season for all of us. We have found some areas that we hope can improve the chassis side of things, but unfortunately it takes time to design and manufacture the components,” explained Team Manager Chuck Aksland. “From Kenny Jr’s side, it has been very frustrating, as the fundamentals of the machine seemed fine since we started testing. However, competitive lap times have not been not been there. He is the same rider that put our bike on the podium twice last year and we thought heading into this season we could do better. For whatever reason we have not. There have been a lot of changes, engine, tire rules, etc. It took some time for us to get the 990cc right and we are confident that we can turn the 800cc around as well. We just need some more time.
Kenny Roberts Jr may not make his return to action until the team hit home soil at the Red Bull US Grand Prix at the end of next month, awaiting what the team hope will be a fortune changing chassis.
“All we can focus on is what we can control and that is to make the chassis better. Kenny Jr has ridden the current spec enough and we decided the best time for him to come back would be when there are new parts available to get the KR212V closer to the front. This next step is targeted for the USGP at Laguna Seca,” added Aksland.
Kurtis Roberts has participated in the last two rounds as a wildcard, with the team still having to obey engine restrictions set by Honda.
“Kurtis has done a good job for us during the last two races and he is improving each time he gets on the bike. Unlike the previous races, he now will have two machines available which will help him gain additional track time.”
Whilst Kenny Jr has been withdrawn from the action at Donington Park by mutual agreement with the team, scheduled debutant Jonathan Rea has seen his participation prevented by a change in strategy by Honda. Having won the 300km race and taken his first victory in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship in the past fortnight, the Japanese manufacturer have decided to pull the young Irishman out of a further three days on track.
HM Plant Honda rider Jonathan Rea, originally scheduled to run alongside Kurtis, has become unavailable for this weekend’s event due to a change of strategy by Honda. Jonathan’s recent string of success following his win in the 300KM Suzuka event string of success following his win in the 300KM Suzuka event as well as taking his first BSB victory at Mondello Park last Sunday has led to a re-evaluation of Jonathan’s GP debut. Team Manager Aksland is disappointed with the decision, although emphasized that the doors were open for a future opportunity.
“It’s unfortunate that Jonathan won’t be able to compete with us at Donington. The whole team was looking forward to working with him. He’s had a good run lately and Honda have decided that it is best for him to stick with his current priorities which obviously lie in the British Superbike Championship and Suzuka 8 hour event. Hopefully we can find another opportunity to get him onboard our MotoGP bike in the near future.”