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GP Week : Issue 4
Roberts Return? 15 M oto GP news >> Images used in GPWEEK are shot by the photo-artists at Sutton Images. Posters available of any shot – CLICK HERE for more information Interested in Aussie V8 Supercars? CLICK HERE to access Australasian Motorsport e News ... TEAM Roberts, absent from the grid this year for the first time since 1986, may return, but probably not this year. Team manager Chuck Aksland, now also managing American 125 racer Steve Bonsey, was in the paddock at Jerez, and affirmed that the long-standing project with a Las Vegas-based leisure complex was still in progress, after more than a year of negotiation. The MotoGP plans are part of a triple-header sponsorship programme put together by F1Maxx, including a NASCAR team; and while the final decision seems to be endlessly deferred, Aksland insisted it was still alive. “The programme has been in the works for a couple of years, and it’s running its course. There have been plenty of chances for negatives to come up, but there haven’t been any. I’d like to say we can see some conclusion to it, but this year would be difficult. “First we would have to get the budget, then secondly talk to manufacturers about bikes, and that could be the hardest part. Nobody has got any spare bikes sitting around.” Triple World Champion Kenny Roberts founded his team in 1987, and in the 1990s ran factory Yamahas as the dominant force in the paddock, with Marlboro backing and three consecutive World Championships with rider Wayne Rainey. The team’s fortunes flagged after Kenny embarked on his own Modenas/Proton- backed manufacturing project, with a V3 two-stroke 500 and a V5 990cc MotoGP machine. Last year it returned to the rostrum using Honda power in its own British- made chassis with Kenny Roberts Junior in the saddle, but Roberts wanted a two- rider team for 2008, and Honda was unwilling to supply motors.