500cc world champion Kenny Roberts Jr, the most recent Suzuki rider to win the premier-class title in 2000, made a visit to the Austin MotoGP weekend.
And the American didn't just spectate. KR Jr, son of 'King' Kenny Roberts, also played an active role in trying to help his former team.
“We always have one guy [watching] out on track, trying to help us with videos and comparing us with the other riders. Kenny was with him during the weekend, he has a lot of experience so was looking at our bike and the other bikes,” explained Suzuki racer Aleix Espargaro, speaking during Monday's private test at Circuit of the Americas.
“We compare and talk a lot. We see a lot of videos this weekend! It's good that a rider like him can be outside and check both bikes. He talked a lot with Tom [O
Kane, Espargaro's crew chief], which is even more important. It's always positive that somebody like him can help us.”
The Spaniard added: “Basically he just reconfirmed - I mean, I didn't know he was out on track for FP1 and after FP1 he said what I had been saying to Tom five minutes before. So this means I'm not an idiot! Not crazy!
“But the good thing is he has a lot of experience with a lot of different bikes. He talked a little bit with Tom and put some ideas together for the future and also today we tried something different. So it's good.”
Espargaro finished fifth in Sunday's race, his best result since joining Suzuki but one place behind team-mate Maverick Vinales, having regained feeling and aggression with the GSX-RR.
“We came back to last year's feelings,” he said. “I was able to ride aggressive. When I ride aggressive I brake hard, which is where I feel I'm fast and quick. Here I was able to be aggressive with no crash. Because in Qatar and Argentina every time I push I lose the front.
“So we changed a little bit the bike here and the feelings are coming better. Also we start to work for the first time with the '34' [harder tyre] carcass and for me it's the first time I'm able to use, the bike feels better and more safe. I couldn't use in the first two rounds.”
By Peter McLaren