Kevin Schwantz needs no introduction. A real “old-style” rider, the ways he was defined during the almost ten years he spent in 500cc World Championship, always with Suzuki, are enough to describe an unparalleled champion: “kamikaze rider”, “cautionary tale”, “hothead”, “the impossible one”. Testimonial and “godfather” of the manufacuturer based in Hamamatsu, he keeps living the events involving Suzuki and he always brings motorcycle racing in his heart. The 1993 500cc World Champion, able to win 25 races during his career, announced his retirement at 1995 Mugello GP. some days ago he came back to Italy (he was in Cremona, more precisely) for Suzuki Day. He’s a great supporter of Valentino Rossi and he will always have a good relationship with Italy.
In the past you said that Andrea Iannone wasn’t that good rider. Have you changed your mind, after the podiums he scored at Austin and Jerez?
No, I haven’t. You know, I’ve never said that Iannone isn’t fast, but he has to be that more often.
Do you think Suzuki will continue working with Rins and Iannone till 2020?
I’m quite sure they will confirm Alex Rins for the next two years. Who will be his team-mate? I don’t know…Maybe Iannone, but I really don’t know.
Who will be the main rival of Marquez in 2018 season?
I don’t know, but currently his biggest rival is Marquez himself. Dovizioso has been really inconsistent so far. He won the first race, but he struggled to be in top 5 in Argentina and the same happened at Austin. Rossi and Yamaha seem to be in trouble when temperatures are high and on certain circuits they cannot find a solution. What about Crutchlow? He needs to be more consistent and to stop making “presents” to the other riders, as he did at Austin and Jerez. Iannone performed a couple of good laps on his Suzuki. it would be interesting to see whether he can fight with Marquez, but he needs to show something more before we say he can fight with anyone. Suzuki has built a good bike, also Rins proved it in the past two races, but we will see how the development will go.
Why can’t Jorge Lorenzo have a good feeling with Ducati? Will he manage to solve his problems?
At Jerez Jorge seemed to have solved his problem, sinc ehe was fighting for second place. Work in progress, in his case. Ducati is very different from the Yamaha he used to ride and Valentino never managed to “understand” Ducati. Maybe Jorge needs just some more time and some more races.
Valentino Rossi can win some races, but not a World Championship. Do you agree?
You know, I think that if you can win some races, you can also win a world championship, so I agree: he can win some races, but maybe he can’t be World Champion once again. But if you win some races and you’re consistent, you can fight for it. Marquez is a hammer, he has scored many points in spite of being penalised. Dovizioso and Ducati are inconsistent…Yes, I mean, Marquez is the one to beat, but Rossi may exploit the mistakes that the others may make.
Is his age the only barrier for Valentino Rossi? If Marc Marquez was born 10 years earlier, who would have won?
I think you mean ten years later…Well, it depends. I think Marquez wouldn’t have it so easy, if Valentino and Yamaha improved with electronics. I think that if they were both 25 or 30 years old, the Rossi vs. Marquez duel would be more epic, as it was till a couple of years ago. Rossi was fast enough in the final part of the season, he also had some problems with Yamaha, with which he has not that good feeling… So, who knows? What would have happened, if Rossi went back to Honda and was Marc’s team-mate?
What’s your opinion about aerodynamics in MotoGP?
You know, I think everything can be done to make a motorcycle faster and perform faster laptimes, or to make them smoother. Including winglets, all the solutions are very interesting and I think people like it. You know, it feels like seeing a classic motorcycle, it’s special.
When will you come back to Italy? What do you like the most of this country?
You know, I like everything of Italy. I like Italian food and Italian people and there are some of the most important motorsport lovers all over the world. And it looks like there are still some champions and this is what I like the most.
Photo Credit: Chris Bishop