In the run-up to next weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz took part in a media teleconference organised by Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here are a selection of the questions and answers from that conference - in part one Schwantz answers questions on Casey Stoner, his thoughts on team management, the new MotoGP rules, the future of Jorge Lorenzo and how to get more bikes on the grid...

Q:
Could you touch on the Casey Stoner situation a little bit from your perspective, a lot of mysterious stories, other things going wrong. You've been to several MotoGP races in Europe this year, what have you heard, what have you seen, what do you think?

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Kevin Schwantz:
I guess, first of all, what I have heard and what I have seen is that Casey has been struggling with some type of an illness, whether it was a stomach bug or whatever at a bunch of the earlier, a couple of the earlier grands prix that I went to. Of course, the last one I went to in the Czech Republic, he wasn't there, and still with no form of illness that's been diagnosed by any doctors that I've heard anyway.

And as a rider, my gut feeling is Casey needs to be out there competing. This championship, when he made a tire choice at Donington that seemed to be a little bit off of the norm, had him right at the top of it. I mean, he didn't need to be making a gamble on tyres like that when he was in a championship hunt. For me, that kind of told me that there was something more going on with Casey than just, you know, "I don't really feel all that good but I'm finding a way to perform."

And for me, to have signed a contract whenever it was, beginning of last year, beginning of this year, you're signing a contract to compete unless something is medically wrong with you. I'm out there doing the best that I can. Whether I can give 100 percent every weekend or not is kind of the question. But for me it's a real disappointment, and I think, you know, Casey is a great competitor, and I think maybe a little bit more of this has to do with something behind the scenes that maybe none of us quite yet know about.

Maybe that's just some Stoner hard feelings towards Ducati or towards the series or, I don't exactly know what it could be. But to just decide you're going to skip three races and see if you feel any better at the end of it, to me, is a little bit out of the norm.

Q:
Can you talk a little bit about how difficult it is to remain motivated as a rider if your heart just simply isn't in it?

Kevin Schwantz:
Well, yeah. I can be the first to comment on that because when I quit racing, it was, you know, any motivation, any focus that I had had, any inspiration to go out there and compete every weekend was a lot, was based around trying to figure out how to beat Wayne Rainey. Without Wayne there, winning a race is winning a race; and it was still really cool, but it didn't have near the meaning that it did when I was beating him.

If your heart is not in it, it's somewhat of a high-risk profession. Maybe you're better off going to go get a desk job or at least stepping away from the sport. And that, in my situation, is what I did. I sure hope that's not the case with Casey Stoner and that, you know, he's just lost interest and focus in this sport at such a young age because he's definitely a huge draw to the series. And I think he's been a World Champ, so he obviously can ride one of these two-wheel rockets at the best of his ability, which is World Championship-winning level.

Q:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you've attended roughly half of the GPs this year. What motivates you to jump on airplanes that frequently given your commitments here in the States with your riding school and at the AMA races with Yoshimura Suzuki?

Kevin Schwantz:
I still think my heart and soul is 100 percent in MotoGP, and I've always aspired to be a guy who could run a team. You know, whether it's, as in the past my entire career has been affiliated and competition-wise was around Suzuki; but at the same time, you know, maybe there's other options, maybe there's other opportunities out there for me.

So right now the school is going well here in the States. Attendance is a little bit soft but I think with the economic state of everything, that's to be expected. But, you know, I really have the desire and the want to be back involved in Grand Prix racing, and just going over there keeping an eye on things and keeping those doors open if anything does come up for an opportunity of me maybe getting in and running a team from a management perspective.

Q:
Would you have any interest in running a World Superbike or an AMA team or strictly are your interests in Grand Prix?

Kevin Schwantz:
You know, first and foremost MotoGP is where I think Kevin Schwantz made his name, and that's where I'd initially like to be. If things don't work out there, possibly a World Superbike deal. No way at all, any chance, no direction, no chance, no way, no how would I do anything AMA.

Q:
MotoGP has some new rules this year limiting the use of engines and how many replacement engines you have. How do you think this is going to affect the riders and maybe some of the strategies they use?

Kevin Schwantz:
Well, I think, first and foremost, we saw last weekend in Czecho the biggest effect it's going to have on the riders is running over to get the thing turned off real quick so it doesn't ruin an engine because they know what they're practicing with or what they're riding with is one of the four or five engines that they have through a certain length of time.

You know, I don't think from a rider's perspective, you're not going to do anything really different. You're going to ride it as hard as you can. You're going to go as fast as you can. You're going to try to get the best setup you possibly can. I don't think it's going to come down to, well, I'm going to do the first half of the practice session at a mere 90 percent and then the last half of the session I'm really going to try hard, because my understanding of it is it's more of a mileage issue with the engines than it is anything.

After a certain number of laps, whether they're going really, really fast or really, really slow, it's got that mileage on it, got that distance on it, it's got to be rebuilt now.

Q:
There's going to be two big announcements at Indy next week, or it looks like there's going to be two big announcements. One is going to be that Lorenzo will decide his future, and the second one will be about the meeting of the Grand Prix Commission.

First of all, about Lorenzo. The news in Europe is that he signed to ride for Ducati. First of all, how do you think he'll do on the Ducati? And secondly, why do you think it's such a difficult bike to ride?

Kevin Schwantz:
You know, I don't honestly have an answer as to what I see that bike doing that makes it so difficult to ride. You know, I've talked to Nicky Hayden a bit about riding, Marco Melandri just a touch. It's just a bike that seems to be, from what they say, somewhat inconsistent.

Watching Nicky and some of the things he does on the track, it just doesn't look like from lap to lap he's confident that the bike is going to continue to do the same thing in the same exact corner lap to lap to lap.

So as a rider, he can't quite start to compensate or make an adjustment from a rider's perspective to try and be able to do things a little bit better because it's a little bit inconsistent. And I don't know whether that comes from the geometry of the bike, the chassis of the bike, the electronics on the bike, exactly what it is. I'm still a little bit too far away from that to have a really good idea what makes that bike so difficult to ride.

Q:
Why doesn't that seem to bother Casey? Because Casey is, I mean there's hundredths between each of his lap times.

Kevin Schwantz:
Yeah. And I don't honestly know unless Casey Stoner is more superhuman than most of us actually think he might be. Casey has done an outstanding job riding the Ducati. The Ducati has been kind of Casey's saving grace. He got off of what everybody thought was a pretty good factory Honda ride, and when he got on the Ducati, he started shining like there was no tomorrow. Whether there's just a little more confidence in Casey and his ability and that Ducati, maybe he's been a part of a little bit more of the development of it. I honestly don't know. Like I said, that red garage is one that I don't get very close to and don't have the ability to get very close to. But obviously the bike is good in a straight line and some guys can ride it, but most guys don't seem to be able to.

Q:
OK. A question about the Grand Prix Commission. The Grand Prix Commission is due to meet, and they'll be discussing the proposal with the MSMA is going to put forth about leasing just engines instead of whole bikes as a way to get more bikes on the grid. This was as a counter to the 1000cc production engines which Dorna has suggested. What is your take on that? How do you think we can get more bikes on the grid?

Kevin Schwantz:
Well, I haven't heard in detail what their ideas are with the 1000cc production-based engine or whether they're going to allow the 1000cc to run standard cases, which I think is one of the big stumbling blocks that they had about maybe running 1000cc production motors before.

Absolutely, positively there needs to be more bikes on the grid. Kind of a unique assessment that I made last weekend in Czecho was (Michel) Fabrizio was there riding a Ducati, and I know he's maybe a little beat up. And I think I talked to him Sunday, and he said he was - something was broke, whether it was a collarbone or something that he had hurt previously or what. But the lap times that he done on his World Superbike when they were at Brno to the lap times he did on the MotoGP bike, there wasn't a huge difference in them.

I'd like to think that had a little bit to do with maybe he wasn't 100 percent. But at the same time, maybe the power plants of modern-day production bikes at 1000cc's could compete really closely with this next level of development that these 800cc projects are at right now. So there's a whole lot of question out there as to which direction is the right way to go.

But from a rider's standpoint, I really feel like there needs to be more bikes on the grid. At a Laguna Seca, we have 11 bikes finishing a race: That's not what we need. The competition has always been great at the front of MotoGP, but we need to see a little more depth through the field, I think.