Schwantz to return to Suzuka

By Simon Patterson -

MotoGP

 11 March 2014 16:06

Yoshimura Suzuki will run not one but two teams for this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours, as they expand to celebrate the 60th anniversary of racing legend Pop Yoshimura founding the tuning firm back in 1954. A second legends squad will join the number one effort, with double Japanese champion Satoshi Tsujimoto joined by GP legend Kevin Schwantz.

Schwantz and Tsujimoto have history together, racing to third place together back in 1986 for the official Suzuki team, and despite their combined age, Schwantz showed in 2013 that he could still be competitive, finishing third alongside Nori Haga and former BSB racer Yukio Kagayama.

Schwantz: “Competing in the 2013 Suzuka 8 Hour with Team Kagayama reminded me of what racing with a great team is all about. I am really looking forward to celebrating Yoshimura's 60th anniversary of being in business by competing in the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hours on a Pops Yoshimura Suzuki.”

“Pops was a very influential man in my career. I first met him mid-way through the 1985 season riding for Yoshimura. Riding for Pops taught me a lot and helped groom me to be the competitor that I am. He was a real motivator and got the best out of everyone that worked around him.”

“In 1994, I presented Pops with my winning Suzuka Grand Prix trophy, the fourth Japanese win of my career, in the Suzuki garage. That photo is still is one of my favorites of all time. Before his passing, he told me I was his only rider to ever win a 500cc Championship, or as it is known today Moto GP, and since his passing his words still hold true.”

“To be partnered with my teammate from 1986 Satoshi Tsujimoto is a real honor. Thank you to Suzuka circuit and everybody at Yoshimura Japan for the opportunity.”

Tsujimoto added: “It is the 60th anniversary year for Yoshimura since its start, and I am so excited to announce that I will race at Suzuka 8H as a member of the Legend Team. My pair rider is Kevin Schwantz who has joined Yoshimura factory at the same time as me back in 1984! It has been already 30 years since then, and I am honoured to race together in the Yoshimura family.”

“I am already 54 years old, but I still have same Yoshimura’s challenging spirit from the past and I will work hard to bring myself in the best condition to enjoy the race. It is going to be a really tough race physically, but we will show our performance at the race.”