In the aftermath of the Austin MotoGP race, Kevin Schwantz is back working in MotoGP. Sort of.
After mending fences with the Circuit of the Americas, Schwantz is no longer persona non grata at the Austin track or with MotoGP. Maybe that’s partly why he was aboard the Suzuki MotoGP project at COTA, test-riding it after doing some hot laps on a GSX-R 1000 in preparation for the upcoming Suzuka 8-hr.
Schwantz, who hasn’t ridden a MotoGP machine since 2006, did 11 laps on the prototype bike, with a best lap-time of 2’12.75. His opinion? Suzuki needs to get this machine into a race as soon as possible.
“I think Suzuki should race now – the sooner the better,” Schwantz said. “”You can test a lot but in the race you really understand.”
Schwantz was particularly impressed by the difference between the test machine, and the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R 1000 he was test riding.
“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,” he said. “With this bike you have power and braking so you brake and accelerate and the bike does all the rest.”
Randy DePuniet, who’s been Suzuki’s main test rider, put in 56 laps at COTA, with a best time of 2’06.41. The main focus of Suzuki’s testing was to work on chassis and gearbox settings. Their testing continues today.