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Schwantz interview - part 2.

James Toseland, a lot of talk right now whether he should keep his ride or not in MotoGP. I'm sure you've got an opinion. What is it?

Kevin Schwantz:
I think James has been as disappointing to us as he has been to himself. I know James probably didn't expect to come here and start winning races immediately, but I'm sure he felt like he was going to be a guy that could contend for the podium. When you've got a veteran such as Colin Edwards alongside you in the team who's managing to put the bike up on the podium or somewhere right near the front somewhat consistently, I think there's probably a lot of doubt running around in James' head right now.

I don't know, maybe a year or two back ride some superbikes, get some confidence back. I don't honestly know what the best path might be right now for James. But I know for me it's – I was expecting big things of him and he's done an OK job a couple of weekends. He's had some decent results, but he hasn't ever shown me that spark and that fire that I saw out of him riding a World Superbike.

Kevin, what do you think about Colin Edwards' chances here at this race?

Kevin Schwantz:
It's funny, because Colin will pull out some of the biggest surprises you might not have ever expected. I really feel like here at Indy - he didn't have the most flashy of grands prix at Laguna Seca, and I think this is a track here that would suit Colin and his style. Obviously, the Tech 3 Yamaha is a bike that's been working pretty well for him most of the year. It could be a weekend where we get to see a bit of a surprise out of the Texan. I'd like to see that more than anybody.

Kevin, you talked about how much you love the two-strokes and the sound of a two-stroke. What are your feelings about Moto2, which is due to start next year?

Kevin Schwantz:
I think the idea behind it is good. Once again, it's headed a direction that we've seen should cost a whole lot more money than two-stroke racing; but, at the same time, I think four-stroke technology is the direction that most of the manufacturers are headed from a development standpoint.

You know, with one type of engine, everybody gets to build their own chassis to try and come up with some different ideas on what might work best or what might not. You know, I have to go into it with an open mind. I think it could be really good. The fact that there's 40- some-odd teams, more than 40 teams interested in competing in the series, have fielded entries, I think that in itself is pretty exciting for MotoGP.

Hopefully that new class and its structure will lend us some really, close competitive racing because the 250 field has really shrunk quite a bit, too. It's a shame because I got the opportunity a couple of years ago to test all the MotoGP bikes, riding those big, I think they were still 990s back then, riding those big 990cc four-strokes, and the guys from KTM came over and asked if I wanted to ride their 250 and I said, "Yeah, absolutely."

Just over maybe 110 horsepower and 90 kilos a bike, it reminded me a lot of riding my 500, it was just a little bit slower acceleration-wise. But just the precision, the sound, the sharpness of that two-stroke, everything about it was a real pleasure to ride, that's for sure.

I'm getting the sense that your head says it's a good idea but your heart is breaking at the loss of the two-strokes.

Kevin Schwantz:
Yeah, you know, I think my heart will always be a two-stroke heart. But we understand that technology is headed in a different direction now, and that maybe the two-strokes aren't the most efficient thing out there. You know, it's still racing in a world-class level, and I think that's more what it's about than anything right now, than what I want to see and what I want to hear.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Schwantz,  British MotoGP 2009
Kevin Schwantz visits Suzuki HQ
Schwantz, Yoshimura Suzuki, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Brivio, Schwantz, De Puniet, Aoki, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Schwantz, De Puniet, Aoki, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Schwantz, De Puniet, Aoki, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Kevin Schwantz rides Suzuki MotoGP machine (Pic: Suzuki)
Kevin Schwantz tests Suzuki MotoGP bike (Pic: Suzuki).
Schwantz, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Uncini and Schwantz, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Schwantz helmet display, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Schwantz leathers on display, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Schwantz leathers on display, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Schwantz board, Grand Prix of The Americas, 2014
Schwantz, Herrin, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2014
Schwantz, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2014
Herrin, Hayden, RAbat, Bradl, Schwantz, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2014
Schwantz, Grand Prix of the Americas, 2014

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Can hardly wait! - Unregistered

August 21, 2009 6:28 AM

I'm curious to see how well Ben's "strong arm" style of riding, which is quite impressive on a superbike, will carry over to 800cc GP bikes. He just might not do as well as a lot of us are expecting.

Jiri Simek

August 21, 2009 9:06 AM

Well the difference is quite big in fact! Valentino has gone through the two-strokes (125cc & 250cc) and learned how to handle a really light machine with excellent brakes. On the other hand Ben has never ridden a two-stroke bike, but rather raced the heavier production bikes such as the GIXXER. Kevin is right that it is a tough call to judge what Ben is capable of on a formula(MOTOGP bike) which is so much different from the bikes he has been riding for all of his life. Anyway, I am pretty much convinced he will do well! GO ELLBOWZ :-o

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