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Apr 11, 2001

Kevin Schwantz On Riding A Superbike Again

Copyright 2001 Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>More than a decade after he last rode one, Kevin Schwantz was back on a Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike during team tests at Road Atlanta Tuesday. <BR><BR>Schwantz took five laps on the bike with an on-board camera to gather video footage that will be used to promote the AMA Superbike National at Road Atlanta. Previously, Schwantz had last ridden a Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike at Daytona in 1988, when he won the Daytona 200.<BR><BR>"It makes Road Atlanta seem like a pretty tight little racetrack," said Schwantz about the bike he rode, which is normally ridden by Mat Mladin. Mladin missed the test with a broken lower left leg.<BR><BR>"The biggest thing that I noticed about it is how quick you need to be ready to shift gears when you get off turn seven and twist it wide open," continued Schwantz. "It's almost like you have to preload your foot and be ready to get two, maybe three gears bam-bam-bam.<BR><BR>"I'm not used to riding stuff that's that fast. Well, I did ride Kenny's bike in November but that's different, it was at Philip Island, a big, long place," Schwantz said, refering to a brief ride he had on Kenny Roberts 500cc World Championship-winning RGV500 during post-season tests following the last Grand Prix of 2000, in Australia.<BR><BR>"And it sure liked to stop, it stopped right now," Schwantz said, refering again to the GSX-R750. "(Yoshimura's) Don (Sakakura) was on the back straight with a radar gun when I was on it and I reached 163 mph on the back straight and the fastest (Superbike) through there for the day was 165, 166. And it sure seems to stop itself quick, and the bike feels really stable on the brakes.<BR><BR>"Just like Kenny's bike it feels real nervous to me, probably because it's been so long since I've ridden something that fast and I'm not riding it hard enough and not loading it enough. It was probably a little stiff for me.<BR><BR>"Speedvision had a camera on it, for some TV spots for the Big Kahuna (AMA Superbike race scheduled for May 17-20).<BR><BR>"I was kind of hoping they didn't get any footage and we'd have to try it again. It was fun. I really enjoyed it.<BR><BR>"I think I did 32 on it, it shows that you've got to go out and really push to go as fast as most of these guys are going now.<BR><BR>"Low 25 is what (Aaron) Yates did, but most of those guys are in the high 25s, 26 is what these guys did. Everybody who's here is basically within a second of each other and I was five or six seconds off that so it just shows you the level of the playing field these days.<BR><BR>"It was a very pleasant experience," concluded Schwantz.<BR><BR>Schwantz also said that the track was covered with fallen pollen which looked like yellow dust when bikes disturbed it. The pollen had to have some affect on traction, especially off line, Schwantz said.<BR><BR>Schwantz added that Grant Lopez's Valvoline EMGO Suzuki Formula Xtreme GSX-R1000 registered the highest top speed on Sakakura's radar gun, reaching 168 mph. The highest AMA Superbike reading was between 165 and 166 mph, Schwantz said.<BR><BR>Besides Yates and Lopez, riders testing at Road Atlanta include Jamie Hacking, Steve Crevier, Mike Smith, Jordan Szoke, Anthony Gobert, Tommy Hayden, Doug Chandler, Eric Bostrom, Ben Spies, Chris Ulrich and Larry Pegram.<BR><BR>Hacking spent all day on his GSX-R600 Supersport bike, while Yates switched back and forth between his 600 and his Superbike. <BR><BR>Hayden and Gobert ran 600s in the morning and Superbikes in the afternoon.<BR><BR>Spies and Ulrich were riding Formula USA GSX-R750s all day. Lopez started the day on his Formula USA GSX-R750 and then switched to his Formula Xtreme GSX-R1000.