It might not have been the most successful 500cc Grand Prix bike, but the Suzuki RGV500 captured the hearts and minds of race fans in the late '80s and early '90s. And it was all because of one man: Kevin Schwantz.
The flamboyant Texan was the Rossi of his day and the smiling Assassin was all slides, spins and crossed-up-wheelies out of corners - clattering sideways in on the brakes after he'd 'seen god and backed off'.
Not only was Schwantz's leggy, upright style captivating, the bike he turned up on in 1988 to begin his full time 500cc Grand Prix career was a thing of beauty. His Pepsi Suzuki was an instant poster bike and even by today's standards still looks perfect. It didn't do any harm to the legend of Schwantz and his 160bhp, 115kg RGV500 that they won first time out.
Schwantz and the RGV were part of a golden age of GP racing, taking the world championship in 1993.
The RGV500 carried on until the end of the 500 era in 2001 and won another world championship in the hands of Kenny Roberts Jnr in 2000. We got a few examples of RGV500s together at Rockingham and basked in their beauty.
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