American legend Kevin Schwantz could be the figurehead of a new Suzuki MotoGP team planned to debut in 2011, MCN can reveal.
The Texan, who has been linked previously with a management role at Suzuki’s factory squad, is part of an ambitious project to run GSV-R engines in a Japanese built chassis.
Currently at the planning stage, the project is being masterminded by JiR – Japan Italy Racing - boss Gianluca Montiron, who ran Camel and Konica Minolta Honda satellite teams in MotoGP before leaving at the end of last season.
Montiron confirmed he had been in Japan recently for several meetings with senior Suzuki management and he’d also met potential investors too.
The plan would see Montiron and Schwantz lease Suzuki motors using an independent chassis supplier. Montiron met Moriwaki management during his recent Japan visit about a possible collaboration.
The plan is to race in 2011 when manufacturers will make engines or complete machines available for lease at cheaper prices in an effort to halt an alarming decline in grid numbers.
Montiron told MCN: “I am looking at MotoGP in 2011. The plan is to work with Kevin to have something different, a unique project.
"We would both like to do something together so this is all under discussion. The Suzuki project is under consideration and I would like to find a way to come back to MotoGP.
"I had a meeting with Suzuki top management in Japan and also the same advertising agency that I worked with when I had Konica Minolta as a sponsor.”
Schwantz is also part of the JiR Moto2 project being put together by Montiron. Mattia Pasini is hotly tipped to be one rider.
And with the American influence of Schwantz, 2008 Red Bull Rookies champion JD Beach is also close to a deal, MCN understands.