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GP Week : Issue 65
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 eNews ... THE legendary Team Roberts, for years a mainstay of Yamaha's factory team and later pioneering privateer-constructors in the premier class, has firmed up plans to join the great rush into the Moto-2 class, and the racing legend has told contacts in the US and the UK that he hopes to be able to confirm the required financial backing within a week. The revival of the team, which gained serial World Championships in the 1990s with Wayne Rainey and one 250 crown with John Kocinski, would add strength to the movement returning independent chassis-constructors to the GP paddocks. "Kenny told me that he hoped to hear in about a week," said former Team Roberts manager and now race director Paul Butler. "Everything is looking good. I think he is missing racing so much he needs to be back." Former triple-champion Roberts quit factory Yamaha team in 1997, seeking to follow the Formula One model of specialist constructors. Backed at first by Marlboro and Malaysia's Proton group, the team's two-stroke eventually came good too late, setting pole positions and fastest laps only in the transition season between two-strokes and the new MotoGP class in 2002. Roberts next commissioned a V5 four- stroke, but development problems and costs spiralled, the project was terminated in favour of an ill-starred marriage with a KTM engine, until the Austrian factory pulled out mid-season. But in 2007, the team achieved its best results for years, including rostrums in Catalunya and Portugal, with the Team Roberts chassis married to a Honda V5 engine, ridden by Kenny Junior. The Roberts/Honda combination is often cited as the template for the proposed lease of MotoGP engine in the future (see separate news story). Team Roberts looking strong for Moto-2 the potential effect on team leader Biaggi, and on Simoncelli's dwindling chances of defending his 250 crown. Once it was common for regular GP riders to take part in other events in any breaks in the world championship, but the practice stopped in the 1980s, mainly because of the factories' fears of possible injuries to title contenders. Nowadays it is almost unknown. Moto GP news >> 13