A few days ago, KTM, who have been supplying engines to the Kenny Roberts Proton MotoGP team, decided to end that relationship and Kenny Roberts is now struggling to come up with parts, pieces and bikes to get on the grid. If you recall, last month there was an auction at Monterey in conjunction with the U.S. MotoGP at Laguna Seca. One of the bikes up for auction was last year’s Proton KR race bike. Evidently, that bike was not sold because it didn’t meet its reserve which turns out to be a good thing since Kenny Roberts is now planning to use that bike again. (It also shows that someone had the opportunity to buy one helluva bike.) One of the reasons cited by KTM for ending the support was the prohibitive cost of re-engineering to meet the new 800cc engine displacement rule effective in 2007.
MotoGP, like Formula 1 in the auto world, is extremely expensive. There is a symbiotic relationship between teams and their sponsors, some of whom make the whole effort possible, so when a sponsor pulls out things can fall apart quickly unless replacement backing is lined up in the form of money or parts.
We wish Kenny Roberts the best and hope he can keep things together for the remainder of the season.