Kevin Schwantz has expressed his delight at having his efforts to bring MotoGP to his home state of Texas come to fruition.
The 1993 500cc World Champion has been instrumental in luring the premier motorcycling series to the newly conceived Circuit of the Americas, currently being built near the city of Austin.
Though the venue was originally intended to attract Formula 1 – which will visit the circuit in 2012 for the United States Grand Prix -, Schwantz says he pushed to ensure it would feature everything it needs to welcome two-wheel racing as well.
“Having watched the development of this facility I am genuinely excited about it, and I think it's going to be highly attractive,” he told the official MotoGP website. “From a rider's perspective, which is how I look at things, I think it's going to be a great track.
“It'll be really challenging, it's going to be safe and it's going to be a nice, long lap. As a rider you will have to work to be able to put good laps together in order to be able to stay at the front of the race. There are a lot of good things and for me it's a very exciting prospect.”
“One of my good friends here in Texas, Tavo Hellmund, is the one who put this whole project together. He is one of the three owners of the facility and when talking with him about it he was speaking about F1 – I was thinking that from a safety perspective we needed to make sure we didn't do anything that would alienate us from bringing bikes here.”
“When they got into the design process of it I got fairly hands on. I don't do a lot of work on the project day-to-day, but I sat in on quite a few meetings with the guys from the design group to make sure that we leave enough run-off for bikes, that it is safe enough for motorcycles, and hopefully that'll be something that everybody notices.”
The Circuit of the Americas will join the MotoGP schedule for the first time in 2013 and while it is not certain whether it will replace one of the two current US-based events or become a third, Schwantz is certain this move will help boost motorcycle racing's popularity in the country.
“It's all about the riders. If they like and love the place and feel it's safe, they will be the biggest advocates of it and will talk about it and like racing here, and that's what will attract the people here,” he said. “We want to try and make the profile of MotoGP here in America just like it is in Spain and Italy. We want it to be one of the top two or three forms of sports over here.”
“As riders we also know how excited people can be about racing. We want to be able to put everything in place to make it an event that everybody wants to come to, and one which you simply can't afford to miss.
“From a logistical standpoint we are going to have a track that's less than 10 miles from the state capital, with the airport being halfway between the city and the track. There are a lot of things that have been really thought through that will make it that much more enjoyable for the fans and a greater fan experience.”