Kevin Schwantz Pilots Suzuki MotoGP Prototype News
The 1993 MotoGP Champion Kevin Schwantz joined the Suzuki MotoGP Test Team this week at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. Suzuki will return to the MotoGP grid in 2015 (ride unknown).
The 49-year-old Schwantz, who competed with the #34, completed 11 laps on the Suzuki MotoGP prototype, posting a best lap of 2:12.75 around the 3.426-mile circuit congaing 20 corners. This was the first time Schwantz piloted MotoGP machinery since 2006.
Besides the MotoGP prototype, Schwantz also tested multiple Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike GSX-R 1000s at Austin’s COTA, which hosted the second round of 2014 MotoGP over the weekend. Schwantz is competing on a Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike GSX-R in the 2014 Endurance World Championship. Due to his race program, the Schwantz School is on hiatus for 2014.
“I went on the MotoGP machine after riding the GSX-R1000 Superbike and it felt like going from a 500cc to a 250cc bike; the MotoGP machine is so small and compact! The bike turns, accelerates, goes fast; it does everything and I had fun and really enjoyed it,” Schwantz says.
“With this bike you have power and braking so you brake and accelerate and the bike does all the rest. I think Suzuki should race now – the sooner the better! You can test a lot but in the race you really understand.
“After having ridden the MotoGP machine, I now appreciate much-more the GSX-R and I want to continue to work on that now to prepare for my race at Suzuka in July. So tomorrow I will only ride the GSX-R.”
The conditions at COTA Tuesday were much cooler than on Sunday’s GP, and the riders couldn’t test Monday due to heavy rain.
Joining Schwantz during the test was Suzuki Test Team rider Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman completed 56 laps aboard the Suzuki prototype, posting a best lap of 2:06.41. Suzuki says the team spent a lot of time in the morning session testing new chassis settings and also adjusting the gearbox for the team’s first test on this new-for-them circuit.
“This was a new track for Suzuki but also I have not ridden the bike since February. We spend some time changing the settings and the gearbox ratios, then we continued to compare two different frames and we found again that the best one here was the one we choose in Sepang,” De Puniet says.
“And we confirmed it again that this is more-stable in the corner entry. In the afternoon we tested different electronic maps. It has been not bad as first day here and I’m confident we can improve tomorrow. Hopefully the track will be cleaner.”
Suzuki MotoGP Test Team Manager Davide Brivio offered further comment on the test: “A positive day on a completely new circuit for us. One of the main targets is to continue the development of the new electronics and also to collect useful information on this track for next year when we will be racing.
“We have done that today but also we could work on bike settings and chassis comparison. The lap-time is not bad for the first day and we are looking forward to improving tomorrow hoping that the temperature can go up a bit and the track will be cleaner.
“It was also very emotional to have Kevin Schwantz – everybody’s hero – riding our bike here. He was quite fast considering the conditions, so we’d like to thank Kevin for this gift!”