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Kevin Schwantz rolls back the years with Suzuka podium

"It feels unbelievable to be on the podium with my hero Kevin Schwantz!" - Yukio Kagayama.
Almost 20-years after his last 500cc rostrum, motorcycle grand prix legend Kevin Schwantz returned to a World Championship podium with third place in the Suzuka 8 Hours.

Just as during his epic grand prix career, Schwantz rode a Suzuki in the prestigious Japanese event, which also formed round two of the FIM Endurance World Championship.

The 49-year-old Texan was tempted out of retirement by ex-grand prix racer Yukio Kagayama, who joined Schwantz and WSBK star Noriyuki Haga in riding duties.

'Team Kagayama' finished one lap behind the winning Honda entry of Leon Haslam, Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi, with Yoshimura Suzuki in second place.

Schwantz wore a Wayne Rainey replica helmet during the race, in tribute to his great 500GP rival (see pictures below).

Schwantz, the 1993 500cc world champion, said: "I know this race is not easy to win. But this time Yukio made a very good team. This was the only condition that I asked of him coming to Japan to enter this race again. He has changed his Japanese Superbike team to a World Endurance top contender. Yukio's effort was great! I tested so many tyres and set-ups for the bike and we found a lot of potential.

"In the race, I only did one stint but I really enjoyed racing with the young Japanese riders. We got third place for the race and thank you to every one of our team staff. Yukio said to me 'You are my idol!,' but I would like to say to Yukio 'You are a Superstar!"

"I'm very happy to have Kevin-san on the podium and Nori has supported me a great deal!" said Kagayama. "I think so many people came to Suzuka because of Kevin and that Nori was riding our Suzuki. I hope that Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki - all manufacturers - put power into motorsports again like in the 1990s.

"It feels unbelievable to be on the podium with my hero Kevin Schwantz!"

Tagged as: Takahashi , schwantz

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Schwantz with Rainey helmet at Suzuka 8 Hours (pic Suzuki)
1993 champion Kevin Schwantz during the Suzuka 8 Hours (pic:
Schwantz at Suzuka 8 Hours (pic: Suzuki)
Schwantz, Kagayama on the Suzuka 8 Hours podium (pic: Suzuki)
Schwantz, Grand Prix Of The Americas, 2016
Takahashi, Hernandez Japanese MotoGP Race 2015
Takahashi, Japanese Moto2 Race 2015
Hayden, Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP Race 2015
Takahashi, Moto2, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Nakasuga, Takahashi Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese Moto2 2015
Takahashi, Japanese Moto2 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015
Takahashi, Japanese MotoGP 2015

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July 28, 2013 8:50 PM

Great Schwantz, very good 3 place for the Team, they have to be happy!! Aim sad for one side i think this was the 1 time i was exciting to wach one endurance race, only because of this Team but Damm i dunno about people here but for me was impossible to find one link to wach at least one lap=/.. Anyway GG and was cool to use wayne rainey helmet, 4sure is times that Schwantz will never forget...

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