MotoGP Legends - Kenny Roberts

The first American to win the 500cc World Championship

Kenny Roberts

United States

World Championship Titles - 3 (500cc)

Grand Prix Victories - 24 (22 x 500cc, 2 x 250cc)

Bike - Yamaha

Kenny Roberts was the first American to win the 500cc World Championship, doing so in 1978. He went on to make it a hat trick by winning in 1979 and 1980 as well. This started off the US dominance of the sport for most of the 80’s and early 90’s until Australia’s Mick Doohan won in 1994.

Roberts rose to prominence winning national dirt track and road racing championships in his home country.

Riding for Yamaha, Roberts entered the World Championship full time in 1978 and went on to win the title in his first year due to four race wins and four podiums.

After retiring from racing he formed his own World Championship team. As team manager he oversaw Wayne Rainey win his three consecutive titles in 1990 to 1992.

Roberts’ son, Kenny Jnr, won his own World Championship in 2000, making them the first father and son duo to both hold World Championships.