Kevin Schwantz, the 1993 500cc Grand Prix World Champion, rode
Suzuki’s prototype MotoGP racebike Tuesday at Circuit of The Americas, near
Austin, Texas, as part of a multi-faceted Suzuki event that included a test for
Suzuki’s MotoGP development team and the Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike team.
After his two-stint, 11-lap outing on the MotoGP machine,
Schwantz was asked about the experience, and he said, “I was going down the
back straightaway and hold on! This is fifth gear, 240, 250 kph. You can’t
wheelie here. Am I sitting up?”
Schwantz found the yet-to-be-named Suzuki MotoGP prototype
was far from an unmanageable beast, however, after he got comfortable.
“You’re riding around on these [Bridgestone] tires that you don’t
really know a whole lot about,” Schwantz told Roadracingworld.com. “I was
trying to get them to go edge to edge, get a feel, get back in the gas and feel
what they do. And you’re like, ‘They’re not doing anything!’ The only thing I
ever got it to do was initially off of slow corners just a little slight move
in the back. Everything after that, nothing. I think the electronics on it are
just that good, because I can hear it making funny sounds.”
Other than a dislike for the bend of the handlebars, which
are setup for Suzuki test rider Randy De Puniet, Schwantz had nothing negative
to say about the MotoGP machine.
“The only thing I could make it do wrong was put it in the
wrong spot on the racetrack or try to go through a corner too fast and run wide,”
said Schwantz. “As long as you have the ability to squeeze the brake lever and
hang off the inside of the bike it’s going to go there. The setup on that bike,
maximum lean angle, rolling around the corner, just feels like it’s planted. And
again it’s amazing how well the electronics work on that bike.”
Schwantz’s best lap time on the MotoGP machine was a 2:12.7,
over four seconds faster than he did all morning on the 2013-spec Yoshimura
Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike he started the day on. And that performance left
Schwantz’s second-guessing his plan to test ride the MotoGP bike again on
“Why do I want to ride that some more when I know that’s
[Superbike] what I’ve got to go race,” Schwantz said. “It’s just going to piss
me off when I get back over here [to ride the Superbike].”
Schwantz is primarily at COTA to test a Yoshimura Suzuki
Superbike in preparation for the Suzuka 8 Hours FIM Endurance World
Championship race in July, he told Roadracingworld.com Monday.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s American Superbike team was also testing
at COTA Tuesday with riders Martin Cardenas, Chris Clark and Roger Hayden
testing their GSX-R1000 racebikes. Clark and Hayden joined Schwantz during one
of his stints, and Hayden did his best lap time of the day, to that point, a
2:12.4, while chasing and passing Schwantz.
Suzuki Motor of America, Inc., working in coordination with
Suzuki Motor Company of Japan and the Suzuki MotoGP test team, hosted
journalists and their top GSX-R sportbike dealers at the Red Bull Grand Prix of
The Americas and Tuesday’s test.