Cycle World Interviews COTA Ambassador Kevin Schwantz

Q: What is Marc Marquez doing better than the others?

A: He gives 100 percent from the very first lap of practice. He keeps on trying different things, different lines and he and his team are communicating really well. Marc is really strong throughout the whole race too. Even when he won the first 10 races last year, he didn’t win them all by dominating. He won in all different conditions. What I like about Marc is that he finds a way to make passes where most of the other guys aren’t trying. He is a master in getting the most out of the tires in the first four to five laps. Even Dani [Pedrosa] or Jorge [Lorenzo] cannot do it. Valentino [Rossi] is fast, but he has shown that he struggles a bit in the beginning of the race. But once the first laps go by, Valentino is really quick. As a rider, for me it would have been difficult to be able to push 100 percent from the very beginning. It took me four or five to settle in and find my rhythm.

Q: What do you think about the return of Suzuki after a three-year absence?

A: It’s exciting. I know how much effort they have put in, and how restricted the testing is to develop the bike. The choice of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales is very good and they will continue developing the bike even over the race weekends. We will have to wait a bit to see Suzuki fighting on top with Honda and Yamaha. Ducati is closer, but winning in MotoGP is not an easy scenario. Anyway, the Suzuki engineers are working hard in Japan and I think they can compete close to the front. Aprilia is struggling, but they have the ability to build a good bike as they showed in Superbike. It will just take time.

Q: Nicky Hayden is the only American in MotoGP. Is MotoAmerica an opportunity for young American riders to arrive to MotoGP?

A: Wayne Rainey is doing a great job. We needed something new in America. The reason why we don’t have American riders in the world championship right now was due to the national championship. Wayne has a big job ahead of him, but we know he is more than capable. He can really bring the championship back where it needs to be. There is no doubt that in America we have the same amount of talent we always had, but we have no avenue to get the young kids into the world championship. We have no manufacturers involved. When I raced for Suzuki in 1986-87, I knew that for 1988 I had a contract with Suzuki Japan. I wouldn’t have been able to race in Europe without the support of a manufacturer. We need manufacturers to be involved in the championship.

Read the rest of the interview with 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz here

Q: What is Marc Marquez doing better than the others?

A: He gives 100 percent from the very first lap of practice. He keeps on trying different things, different lines and he and his team are communicating really well. Marc is really strong throughout the whole race too. Even when he won the first 10 races last year, he didn’t win them all by dominating. He won in all different conditions. What I like about Marc is that he finds a way to make passes where most of the other guys aren’t trying. He is a master in getting the most out of the tires in the first four to five laps. Even Dani [Pedrosa] or Jorge [Lorenzo] cannot do it. Valentino [Rossi] is fast, but he has shown that he struggles a bit in the beginning of the race. But once the first laps go by, Valentino is really quick. As a rider, for me it would have been difficult to be able to push 100 percent from the very beginning. It took me four or five to settle in and find my rhythm.

Q: What do you think about the return of Suzuki after a three-year absence?

A: It’s exciting. I know how much effort they have put in, and how restricted the testing is to develop the bike. The choice of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales is very good and they will continue developing the bike even over the race weekends. We will have to wait a bit to see Suzuki fighting on top with Honda and Yamaha. Ducati is closer, but winning in MotoGP is not an easy scenario. Anyway, the Suzuki engineers are working hard in Japan and I think they can compete close to the front. Aprilia is struggling, but they have the ability to build a good bike as they showed in Superbike. It will just take time.

Q: Nicky Hayden is the only American in MotoGP. Is MotoAmerica an opportunity for young American riders to arrive to MotoGP?

A: Wayne Rainey is doing a great job. We needed something new in America. The reason why we don’t have American riders in the world championship right now was due to the national championship. Wayne has a big job ahead of him, but we know he is more than capable. He can really bring the championship back where it needs to be. There is no doubt that in America we have the same amount of talent we always had, but we have no avenue to get the young kids into the world championship. We have no manufacturers involved. When I raced for Suzuki in 1986-87, I knew that for 1988 I had a contract with Suzuki Japan. I wouldn’t have been able to race in Europe without the support of a manufacturer. We need manufacturers to be involved in the championship.

Read the rest of the interview with 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz here

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