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GP Week : Issue 181
Former MotoGP world champion Kevin Schwantz played an integral role in MotoGP coming to his home state,Texas, but wasn’t at Sunday’s race. MICHAEL SCOTT finds out why TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT When the first MotoGP in Texas kicked off at the Circuit of the Americas, one Austin resident planned to be absent. Kevin Schwantz, racing legend and a founding father of the race. The 1993 World Champion was intimately involved both with bringing MotoGP to Texas, and in design and development of the new circuit outside his home town. At one stage, his company, Three4Texas, was to promote the event. Then it all went wrong, and at pre-season tests Kevin was evicted from the circuit, where he was helping a wild card rider alongside the factory Honda and Yamaha teams. For by now Schwantz had lost the promoter contract he thought was his, and was engaged in a law-suit on the matter with CotA. In the week before the race, Kevin told me: “It really hurts me, but I won’t go, and I’m not going to go. “I feel like – not single-handedly, but I’m probably 99 percent of the reason why MotoGP is here. I helped with the design of the track, from talking with Tilke to walking the ground with Tilke and the FIM, going round and round with Carmelo [Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO], and between myself and my dear friend Tavo Hellmund who worked closely with [F1 Race Director] Charlie Whiting, we got FIM and FIA into it and ready to go. “It’s my race, and it really hurts me.” Schwantz holds a Dorna permanent pass, but had just heard that the circuit has the right to request that he be refused admission, and that Dorna would have to comply. It hadn’t happened yet, but rather than confronting the situation he planned instead to join a viewing party at an Austin lounge bar. “That is where I choose to watch the race. There’ll be a bunch of people there.” The news that Dorna would not fight his corner left him disappointed. “I t astonishes me how quickly my Spanish friends, that I’ve known for 25 years, can be influenced by some guys who have big money here in Austin who just basically told lies about me.” The lawsuit is dragging its way towards what Schwantz’s legal team expect to a court case in perhaps 18 months, and as a result Kevin can’t talk about it in detail, besides giving you the insight of what my gut feeling is and what I feel like I’ve done and how I’ve been wronged.” Kevin was happier to open up on the circuit 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> FEATURE