Suzuki legend Kevin Schwantz has given a cutting assessment of the factory's current situation in MotoGP.

The 1993 500cc world champion described the team as in a state of 'distress' and lacking in multiple areas.

"I don't spend a lot of time in the garage, but the time I have spent there [at the Sachsenring weekend] it seems to me that the work ethic, the mentality, the focus is not there," the Texan told Speedweek.com.

"Alex [Rins] is coming back from being injured and is still trying to learn as a MotoGP rookie. So I really think Iannone needs to be the backbone of the team right now and he's just not been that."

Schwantz, who previously suggested Iannone 'should race go-karts' if he is not prepared to take more risks, added: "I don't understand Italian - I'm kind of glad that I don't - because sitting there listening to Iannone and his crew chief... I just don't see the drive. I don't see the motivation. I don't see the intensity.

"I see a relaxed kind of, 'I can't do anything about this' attitude. When things are bad, the good guys work harder. They don't step back and want to take it easy."

Schwantz traced Iannone's drop in form to Rins' injury in Austin, suggesting the Italian's attitude changed once his team-mate was out of action, while highlighting inconsistent sector times in practice.

"One lap a 22.5 the next a 28, the next 22.6, the next a 24. No real consistency and lots of in and outs. You can't make adjustments based on in and out laps. Especially when we are kind of at a loss for direction right now.

"The bike in testing [was running towards the front], all the way up into the first grand prix where Iannone was challenging for a podium and ran into the back of Marquez. Then in Argentina he jumped the start, but was in the top five there too.

"It seems like from there, after Rins gets hurt, the push is not... in MotoGP or racing of any kind, the ultimate person you want to beat is the guy at the front. But the one guy you really can't stand to get beat by is your team-mate. But that shouldn't be your motivation and inspiration."

In Schwantz's opinion, Suzuki team management should also have reacted to the situation sooner.

"This needed to be resolved before it ever got to this situation, we're at the halfway point of the season and have scored how many points? Hardly any! I think the guys in charge of the team should have got a feel for this a long time ago."

Suzuki scored 89 constructors' points - awarded for the highest finishing rider, by manufacturer, in each race - at the midway stage of last season. This year they have 35 points, with Iannone 16th in the riders' world championship.

The team's best race finish is seventh for Iannone in Austin. At the same time last year they had claimed nine top-six results with Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro, including a podium.

In Iannone's defence, race accidents at Jerez and Sachsenring prove he has taken the GSX-RR beyond its limit at times since Austin. The Italian has had seven falls in total this season.

One measure Schwantz would like to see is a return to front-line duty for the vastly experienced and respected Tom O'Kane, crew chief to Aleix Espargaro in 2015 and 2016, but moved after Iannone's arrival with Marco Rigamonti.

"Tom being brought back in would be a huge asset," he said.

Told that KTM are now rumoured to be interested in O'Kane, the Texan quipped: "KTM knows good people when they see them."

Want more? CLICK HERE for the MotoGP Homepage...

Comments

Loading Comments...