MotoGP: Championship ‘better than in my day’ says Schwantz

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This year’s MotoGP world championship is closer than it’s ever been, according to 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz, who told MCN at the German Grand Prix last week that he’s glad he’s not still riding in the series thanks to just how close it is!

“To have a championship as tight it is at the top is great, but MotoGP is always great. We’ve got a great championship, it’s real close at the top, everyone has mad a mistake or two now, and I can’t wait to see what the second half of the season will bring.

“But to see somewhere like Sachsenring where the lap time is 1:22 or so and there’s only two seconds covering the whole field – it means that you just need to have a little bit of a bad day and you’re in 15th pretty easy! That’s why you see the guys at the front making mistakes – because they’re pushing every single lap. There’s no ‘my bike isn’t great this weekend, I’ll take it easy and finish fourth’ because you could be 14th in the blink of an eye.

“It would have suited me to be in a championship like this back in my day, but it wouldn’t have suited the Suzuki, because until we got it right in 1993 it was a real inconsistent motorcycle. One weekend we’d win convincingly and the next we’d struggle to be top five – and in a filed like this we’d have been lucky to be top 15.

“But racing is in a good place these days. Everyone wants to point at the tyres in MotoGP and blame them, but they’re the same for everyone. Not everyone is falling off them, not everyone is having a hard time figuring out what to do to make them work. That’s all part of the game of racing.

“The current era is better than mine was, from a fan’s perspective. Every bike – well, maybe not just the KTM yet – has the opportunity to be at the front. The Aprilia is making good progress this year, all the Ducatis right back to Baz and Barbera are sticking them in there, and everyone gets a run at the front at some point.

“To me, that makes the whole thing so much more exciting, and as a rider, well… when you get here on a Thursday you better make sure that you’re ready to go, to get as many laps in, be it wet or dry or damp. You’ve got to be ready for whatever’s thrown at you, because you don’t know what’s coming at you on Sunday and you better be prepared for anything.

“At the start of the season I said Maverick was going to win, and I can’t change my prediction now! I said Maverick, Marquez, Rossi and I’m sticking with it – but it could just as easily be Rossi, Marquez, Maverick!”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer