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Schwantz: "Today they're all heroes, MotoGP bikes are easier than the 500s"

"Now the best bikes are being made in Italy and I'd like to try Bagnaia's Ducati. New American talent? Without the commitment of manufacturers and sponsors, it's difficult to make them grow"

MotoGP: Schwantz:

Kevin Schwantz is at Austin to experience the race weekend in that very same paddock to which he has given so much. The American legend granted us an interview in which we were able to talk about how much the sport that helped him to become a legend through duels that will remain etched forever in the history of motorcycle racing, has changed. Sure, it was a different sport than it is today, but Kevin's love for this world hasn't changed.

Do you think that this MotoGP is still the sport that you loved and in which you have become an authentic legend?

"Everything has changed, absolutely. Basically, it remains the same sport in which I raced, in which I grew up and fought, always loving it madly. But everything has changed, the bikes, the leathers, safety, everything and I like to think for the better. But I think watching motorcycle races is always better than watching someone sitting in a car who only moves a steering wheel. Bikes for me remain the ones I loved as a child, I still love riding every time I can. In MotoGP, everything evolves and changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it's a bit like in life. Sometimes things go well, other times they don’t”.

Before, there were few riders who dominated, who could become heroes like you, Rainey, Lawson. Today it seems that everyone can win.

"Now you can have 22 heroes! I would say it's obvious that the bikes have improved a lot, as the riders have evolved. They are probably better trained and stronger than we were in our time. But I think the bikes have also become so sophisticated and only require that you don't make any mistakes while you're riding them. I don't mean it's easy, but it has sure gotten easier than when I was racing. That's why back then there were differences of six seconds per lap, whereas today between the first and last there is often only one second. I remember that sometimes I was two seconds down in qualifying, then maybe I made some changes to the bike I guessed on Sunday morning and in the race, I was able to win. Today it’s not possible, if you start last and you're not Binder in the Sprint Race, it's impossible. I'd say that from the outside the sport looks better than ever, but from the inside I don't know".

In your era the Japanese dominated the scene, today it is no longer the case.

"I believe that the Japanese way of doing things needs to be changed. The Europeans have always been more flexible, they choose a path but are willing to change it. They try different new things. The Japanese are different, they stick to their positions. Suzuki made a great bike, but they had engineers who experimented a lot in a very European way. For me now in Italy they know how to make the best bikes, there's no doubt".

Would you like to try a modern MotoGP bike?

"I'd really like to try Pecco's Ducati. Sure, Ducati has 8 bikes on the grid, they have a lot of data to work with and the best bike. Aprilia have also done a great job and now they'll do even better with 4 riders. In the first race I really thought that the RS-GPs could dominate".

What are the other manufacturers missing to get closer?

"In MotoGP, these limitations on testing, in my opinion, are penalizing for those who may be far away. It would be enough to stay on a track after the race and do some tests. Take Honda, for example. Today they can't take an exclusive track and do four days of testing with all the riders to figure out where they're going wrong, to understand which parts to produce to improve the bike. Even the riders can't train today in MotoGP, and I think this isn't a good thing. Of course, they save money, but I don't think it works very well.”.

The period in which the Americans dominated the world championship seems far away. Will there be any young talent coming?

"I think it's difficult for American riders to go to race in Europe today because there aren't any manufacturers directly involved in the States. Yes, there are Yamahas, Hondas, but they're private teams, they have no ties to Japan. Nothing is connected to the manufacturers and for this reason it is difficult for a young guy to get to Moto2 or Moto3, gain experience, learn the tracks and then dream of MotoGP. If there were a direct commitment from the manufacturers, they would find talent here too to then take them to SBK or in MotoGP. But without this connection it's very hard. I was a coach with the Rookies Cup, there were very some fast riders like Gagne, who last year won all the races in MotoAmerica except the one in which his engine broke. But without strong sponsors, without the support of the manufacturers, it's impossible. Then there are also a lot of limits on testing, it's difficult to grow."


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