Palmarès

Biographie

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500cc, 250cc

Date de naissance

31/12/1951

Lieu de naissance

Modesto

Biographie

Kenny Roberts (Snr.) has made a huge contribution to MotoGP having been involved in the sport for three decades, winning three consecutive 500cc World Championships from 1978 to 1980, going on to become a highly successful team manager and fathering a World Champion son, Kenny Roberts Jnr.

Roberts came to prominence on the domestic scene in his native USA, winning national dirt-track and road racing championships in the 1970s, before arriving in the World Championship towards the end of the decade.

Having made a one-off appearance with Yamaha at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1974, where he finished third, Roberts entered the World Championship full-time with the Japanese brand in 1978. He won the 500cc title at the first attempt courtesy of four Grand Prix wins and four further podiums, making history in the process as the first American to take the crown.

He earned fame for his spectacular duels with the like of Barry Sheene and Freddie Spencer, retaining the title in '79 with five more race victories and made it three World Championships in a row the following year after winning the opening three rounds of 1980.

After finishing third and fourth in 1981 and 1982 respectively, 1983 was Roberts' last season as a rider and he missed out on a fourth World title by just two points to compatriot Spencer, despite winning six of the 12 races that year, including his final Grand Prix appearance at San Marino.

After forming his own World Championship team, Roberts was at the helm of a double title win in 1990 as his Yamaha charges Wayne Rainey and John Kocinski took the 500cc and 250cc honours respectively. Rainey went on to win three successive titles in the premier class under Roberts’ stewardship, emulating his team manager’s achievements of just over a decade earlier.

Later in the 1990s Roberts embarked on an ambitious and ultimately short-lived project with Malaysian manufacturer Modenas as he created his own Grand Prix machine, though he has continued to produce MotoGP teams in more recent years in collaboration with the more established engine suppliers.

Roberts' son Kenny Jnr won the 500cc World title in 2000, as the pair became the first father and son World Champion duo in MotoGP, whilst Kenny Jnr’s brother Kurtis has won domestic titles in the USA and has participated in Grand Prix racing for his father’s team.