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Interview with Kevin Schwantz - Part 1

"There's a bunch of really cool sections of racetrack, but I think Turns 2 to 9 are going to be the really challenging part" - Kevin Schwantz.
In the first part of an exclusive Crash.net interview with 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz, the (official) MotoGP Legend talks about his involvement with the new 'Circuit of the Americas' being built in his home state of Texas.

The Austin track, which already had a long-term contract to host an F1 Grand Prix from 2012, has now also secured MotoGP in a ten-year deal beginning in 2013.

In part two of the interview (to follow) the '#34' casts his eye over the first two races of the 2011 MotoGP season...

Crash.net:
It's an exciting time for MotoGP in America, and especially Texas. Tell us about the new track being built in Austin - how did it all get started and when did you first hear about it?

Kevin Schwantz:
Well a really close friend of mine is Tavo Hellmund [Managing Partner of Full Throttle Productions] and Tavo is the one who put the whole deal together with Formula One. Tavo has been talking to me about it for probably 4 or maybe 5 years.

When he first told me I just kind of looked at him and shrugged my shoulders. I said 'you know, it just sounds like a really big job and really tough to pull off'.

But as time continued he just got closer and closer on it. And then two or three years ago he called me, we went and had lunch and he said, 'You know, I think the time is right now because I think Bernie [Ecclestone, President and CEO of the Formula One Group] really wants to come back to America'.

So he got Bernie on board and met the right people in Texas, as far as private investors, and found some funding for it. So he pulled off the two biggest hurdles that I thought were going to really be stumbling blocks for him and made it look easy.

Crash.net:
At what point did bikes come into the picture? Were they always in the discussions right from the start?

Kevin Schwantz:
They may not have been in the discussions from the start, but they were definitely in the back of my mind!

I've always felt, being a native Texan, that if we could ever find a way to get a facility built that was adequate to bring MotoGP here, it would be a resounding success.

Of course, there was also the opportunity to move my Riding School here. Even closer to home. It'll now be only 20 minutes away - there are a lot of ulterior motives on my behalf, but all stuff that I think will be beneficial to the facility as well.

Crash.net:
How have you managed to influence the design of the circuit, in terms of thinking about bikes?

Kevin Schwantz:




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Austin F1 and MotoGP track (pic: Tilke)
The Circuit of the Americas race track being built in Austin, Texas (Pic: TheAustinGrandPrix.com)
Brough Superior will enter the Moto2 class as a wild-card Silverstone, with Luke Mossey (Pic: Double Red)
Kevin Schwantz visits Suzuki HQ
De Puinet, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Schwantz, Yoshimura Suzuki, Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
De Puinet, 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.
Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Suzuki MotoGP test, Circuit of the Americas, 2014.
Kevin Schwantz rides Suzuki MotoGP machine (Pic: Suzuki)
Kevin Schwantz tests Suzuki MotoGP bike (Pic: Suzuki).
Hayden, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Hayden, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Redding, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014
Bautista, Grand Prix of the Americas 2014

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superslide - Unregistered

April 21, 2011 11:33 AM

I think it looks good for a new track. Big elevation changes, fast maggots/becketts esses, long back staight for slipstreaming, 150mph long right, few hard braking places for overtaking. Reminds me a bit of Aragon and that ain't bad. It's just good to see a western country, other than spain/portugal, actually building a brand new state-of-the-art track from the ground up. Wouldn't happen here in the UK.

jimmy - Unregistered

April 21, 2011 6:44 PM

I have one problem with these modern tracks. A lack of atmosphere. It's like a stadium or a football field. Hills are a way to go but also trees. I like tracks in forests or some parks. Spa, Monza, Road America, just some interesting landscape around.



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