Kevin Schwantz sad at British MotoGP switch

1 of 1

American legend Kevin Schwantz has spoken of his sadness at seeing his beloved Donington Park lose the British MotoGP race to Silverstone from 2010.

Four of Schwantz’s 25 MotoGP victories were registered at the Leicestershire circuit, and such was his fame and popularity with British fans, the circuit even named a corner after him.

ut having hosted Britain’s premier motorcycling race since 1987, Donington surprisingly lost the rights to host the race, with Dorna moving the race to Silverstone.

Talking to the Derby Evening Telegraph, Schwantz said he was disappointed that Donington would not feature on the MotoGP calendar after 2009.

“The place has a special connection for me because, back in America, MotoGP wasn’t that big a deal. Really, Donington became my second home. It was a really great track and played a big part in making my name.

“But probably the Match race series in ’87 was the most important to me because it was the first time that I’d been able to show what I could do in front of a British crowd.

“The match races between the US and the Brits were always special. But there were some big extremes.

“I won my first ever MotoGP race there in 1994 and then there were the lows of knocking Ron Haslam off and when Mick Doohan knocked me off when I was actually the leading the world championship.

“Unlike a lot of the MotoGP riders, I used to like the end of the lap where there was a lot of heavy braking. Even when I wasn’t doing so good, I could always make up plenty of time there under braking.

“Goddards was one of my favourite places to overtake. Any place where you had to brake hard was always one of my strong points.”

Schwantz doubted Silverstone could ever match Donington as a track so popular with riders and he added: “I have only driven a road car around Silverstone but it seems pretty flat and featureless and I’m sure that they will have a lot of work to do.

“I know the F1 guys rave about it but I’m not so sure it’s going to be great for the bike racers.

“Every bit of Donington was challenging all they way down Craner Curves to the Old Hairpin up to Hollywood and, of course the corner, that was named after me.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt