KTR Racing is about 23 years old in the top flight of the sport of motorcycle racing. Founded by MotoGP legend Kenny Roberts, the team has slowly created its own space in the toughest level of competition.
Kenny Roberts had won 3 consecutive titles in the 500cc category and on retiring from the sport, decided to combine with Yamaha and set up his own team. Roberts took the machines from Yamaha in the early years and used them for his team’s riders until he got frustrated by bad results and decided to make his own machine. In 1996, he founded the GP Motorsports UK Corporation that made a three cylinder MotoGP racer and called them the KR3.
The machine was used at the top level for over 7 years and had its best results when the 500cc class made a transformation to the MotoGP class. The bike was one of the few MotoGP variations that took pole positions at that time against the superior 4-stroke machines.
Now that the competition was at the 4-stroke level, Roberts had made up his mind on building his own 5-cyllinder version that would take the place of the old machine. Using lessons learnt from the KR3 and with Formula One engineers working at the headquarters in Brandbury, the team started work on the new engine. The team was provided backing by Proton, a Malaysia based car company and were given technical assistance by Lotus, one of the topmost names in the world of racing.
The result was that a lot of effort went into a 5-cylinder engine called the KR5, which ultimately did not perform as well as the team expected it to. Poor performance on the tracks led to abandonment of the project after the 2004 season. The team collaborated with KTM in 2005 and began using their engines in their KR chassis. The team name changed to KTM Honda and since then, they have performed under the same name each season.