AP Brake Engineer Who Brought Carbon Brakes to GP Racing Ray Bailey On King Kenny Roberts’ 70th Birthday

Immediately after the race, Kenny shook my hand and said, “about f…… time”.


Ray Bailey, AP Carbon Brakes and Kenny

During practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1987, Kenny had no available riders due to injuries. As a team owner of Lucky Strike Yamaha, he made the unorthodox move to ride one of his bikes in practice. Upon his return to the pit, Kenny informed me that the bike DID not turn well and that blame lay with the heavy and outdated 320mm iron brake system.

“WE NEED A SOLUTION ASAP!!!” Proclaimed Kenny. After some serious head-scratching, the decision was made at AP Racing to pursue a first-of-its-kind Carbon brake system. Our solution was a carbon brake of 273mm diameter.

I mentioned it to Kenny; he LOVED the idea and told me, “Stop telling me about it and make it happen, Bailey.”

With that rocket up my backside and constant “encouragement” from Kenny, in the following 12 months, we made it happen. We installed the carbon system on Wayne Rainey’s bike, and he won The British Grand Prix at Donnington Park in 1988, and the rest is history.

Immediately after the race, Kenny shook my hand and said, “about f…… time”.

Kenny was the driving force behind the carbon brake project, a genius racer, a great ally, and a visionary team owner. Always a pleasure to work with.

Happy Birthday, Kenny!


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