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This Yamaha YZR500 OWJ1 was ridden by Kenny Roberts, Jr. for Team Marlboro Yamaha (which was managed by his father, Kenny Roberts, Sr.) during the 1996 World Championship. The OWJ1 was the final factory Yamaha that King Kenny was involved with before he left in 1997 to start his own team, bringing his son with him.
The 1996 model (OWJ1) debuted a new frame design that eliminated the seat rail as well as a new engine design with 54x54mm bore/stroke and a forged “powder metal” piston. Yamaha said these changes boosted “top speed by achieving a better balance of power and torque character based on total intake/exhaust efficiency rather than simply raising rpm.” and claimed 177 horsepower from the 499cc 2-stroke V-4 engine.
Kenny Roberts Jr would place 13th overall that season, with a season-best of 4th place at the Czech GP. KRJR’s teammates that year were Norick Abe, Loris Capirossi, and Jean-Michel Bayle.
This machine still wears the Technical Control inspection sticker from the British GP round at Donington Park.
Kenny Roberts Jr qualified third at Donington with a time of 1’32.794 and he started with an early lead, but unfortunately he ended up going wide and crashing out on lap 9 - starting at 24:21 in the below video:
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