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GP Week : Issue 181
and his influence on the Herman Tilke layout – a track that met with instant approval from factory testers including Rossi. “I really feel like I had a lot to do with the motorcycle friendliness of the circuit. We’ve seen other modern-day Tilke circuits that are so F1 the bikes don’t even want to go there.” One part that bore his stamp is a reminder of his famous outbraking battle with Wayne Rainey at Hockenheim. It is Turn 12, the slow hairpin at the end of the long back straight, as well as the tight loops that follow, ringed by grandstands. “I wanted really big braking, like at Hockenheim into the stadium section” , and also like there I wanted there to be an opportunity that there’d be five or six corners you could sit in the grandstand and watch. Also, if we had the structure right and didn’t put any buildings in the middle, you could see them from the hillside.” He’s also proud of the approach to the back straight, where he was able to countermand a plan for a pair of 90-degree corners with a more subtle combination. “I said guys, we’re playing with the crest of a hill here. Why don’t we make a blind apex. Why don’t make this circuit talk, getting over the top of this hill. And now it’s a real challenge. If you miss it by six inches and the guy behind him gets it spot on, the pass is already made before you’ve got to the corner. “Turn two was going to be a 90-degree corner and I made them move the corner up the hill a bit, so you come out of one, in second through fourth, and it’s a good fast corner. A second-gear corner, anyone can do it; but now, as the race progresses, the more skilled riders will get through there quicker and make some difference.” His only note of caution is a legacy of the F1 roots. “I was having dinner with the Honda LCR guys, and they told me the guys spend 35 seconds of the lap in first gear. Which for me, on a two-stroke, doesn’t sound like much fun. Maybe on a modern machine with a wider power band and a little more torque it’ll be different. Schwantz’s hopes of running Suzuki’s GP team on their return have faded. “I felt like I was running the team – 12 months ago I was in Japan and they gave me a time-line – when they wanted a test team, when they were going to finish domestic testing, when they wanted to go to Europe, how they wanted to do wild cards this year ... and it’s gone completely quiet.” One reason is Dorna’s refusal to accept Suzuki as an extra team, insisting they rejoin with an existing CRT team. Kevin believes if he’d still been involved it might have been different: “I feel Carmelo knows in his heart that I’ve been done wrong on what’s happened here in Texas, and that he might be a touch lenient if it were me coming back with Suzuki.” Circuit of the Americas – Schwantz played his part in the design ... 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> FEATURE