Former World Champion and Texas native Kevin Schwantz joined the Suzuki MotoGP team at Circuit of the Americas to test its new racebike. Schwantz, who won the 1993 500cc World Championship with Suzuki, joined test riders Randy de Puniet and Nobuastu Aoki in riding the new prototype which is set to enter the MotoGP championship in 2015.
Our own Troy Siahaan was in Austin for the MotoGP round and he was on hand to film this clip of Schwantz preparing for his ride:
Schwantz, who posted a best lap time of 2:12.75 on the test bike, says the machine is a step above the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 AMA Superbike he also got a chance to ride at COTA.
“I went on the MotoGP machine after riding the GSX-R1000 Superbike and it felt like going from a 500cc to a 250cc bike; the MotoGP machine is so small and compact!” Schwantz says. “The bike turns, accelerates, goes fast; it does everything and I had fun and really enjoyed it.”
Suzuki had originally planned to return to MotoGP racing this year, but decided to push its plans back another year. Schwantz however says Suzuki should start racing sooner rather than later.
“With this bike you have power and braking so you brake and accelerate and the bike does all the rest,” says Schwantz. ” I think Suzuki should race now – the sooner the better! You can test a lot but in the race you really understand.”
De Puniet, who many expect will pilot Suzuki’s entry next season, completed 56 laps on the same day and another 62 on the following day, posting a top time of 2:05.85. Along the way, he tested a new engine, two different frames, different electronic fuel maps and gearbox ratios.
“I’m happy that we have found a big improvement on throttle connection and traction control. We worked some time to find the right setting with the new electronics also and at the end we found a good compromise,” says de Puniet. “We continued to work on the chosen chassis and it worked really well today. So the package is definitely better and I wanted to have an extra day to be able to continue the work as yesterday we spent most of the time setting-up the bike for the new circuit along with the new electronics. Also, I have not been riding a bike for a few weeks and I needed to get back the feeling.”