Valencian GP: Team Roberts race notes

TEAM ROBERTS REDUX TAKES BEST EVER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT Kenny Roberts Jr. finished eighth in today's season-ending Valencia GP, securing sixth place overall in the championship - the best result his father Kenny's team has had since going ...

TEAM ROBERTS REDUX TAKES BEST EVER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULT

Kenny Roberts Jr. finished eighth in today's season-ending Valencia GP, securing sixth place overall in the championship - the best result his father Kenny's team has had since going independent in 1997.

It wraps up a year when the 2000 World Champion confirmed his own return to competitive form, as well as that of the England-based racing constructors. Riding a hybrid motorcycle, with their own chassis powered by a V5 Honda engine, "Junior" gained strength step by step, as the new machine has also moved rapidly forward to become fully competitive.

He has finished on the rostrum twice and six times in the top five, so that today's eighth was somewhat downbeat by comparison. "It's pretty good that we should be disappointed with a result like today's," beamed team owner Kenny Senior.

Roberts spent most of the race locked in combat with Toni Elias (Honda) and Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki), but he also had his mind on a finish, especially after he saw Casey Stoner (Honda) crash out. Stoner was the only rider capable of ousting him from the world championship.

Roberts also saw defending champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) crash in the early stages, leaving the way open for Honda rider Nicky Hayden to regain the points lead, and finish the 17-race season as the first American World Champion since Kenny Junior in 2000.

KENNY ROBERTS Jr - Eighth Position
I think basically I performed below average all weekend - I never got going, never felt comfortable. Whether it was me or the setting, we never were in synch. So the race was as I expected it would be, unless the bike started coming to me, or unless I started riding a little different ... but I was trying all I could. I just didn't have grip and I didn't have any confidence, so ... We're a new team, with a new machine - it's first time here. It's a real technical track and a rider's track, and if you're off synch a little bit you really look bad.

I saw Casey fall down, and I knew he had a chance to get me for sixth overall. Stupid as it seemed, I was trying to just score as many points as I could and not risk too much. Sixth position for this team first year out, and with me coming back from the last five years when I was not riding very well, and didn't have a machine to ride very well, is a good start. If we can say okay let's better ourselves next year, then we'll be in the top five. That's our goal.

I'd like to congratulate Nicky, and I feel for Valentino. Nicky and I have the same language, and we talk, but I'm also close to Valentino - we've worked with the riders' safety committee for five years. He's the champion whether he wins or loses ... we all know that. He's going to come back strong next year. Nicky rode well all year, and consistent, and he deserves to be up there to win the championship. So it was a fun year, and we look forward to improving.

KENNY ROBERTS - TEAM OWNER
It's been an extremely good year for us. We have a great group of guys now. It's the smallest we've been in quite some years, but they all kicked in this year and did a hell of a job, and it makes a difference. Also, Kenny came to the team and brought that competitive edge back. We haven't had that for a long time, and you cannot get it or keep it going without going for pole positions and podiums. We're tickled to death with the year. We beat a lot of people we weren't supposed to beat.

Nicky did exactly what he had to do ... to forget about what happened last weekend, ride his ass off, and try to win the race. Then whatever happens is going to happen ... it's out of his control. It looked like what goes around, comes around. It's great for the sport, to have an American champion is great for the sport.

-credit: tr

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Shinya Nakano , Kenny Roberts , Toni Elias , Casey Stoner