‘ Iannone must try harder’
Former 500 Grand Prix champion Kevin Schwantz has launched a vicious attack on Suzuki’s number one rider Andrea Iannone, saying he should ‘go and play on go karts if he is not prepared to push himself’.
Nine races into the season, Iannone lies a lowly 17th in the championship, after a best result of seventh in Austin and he’s had five finishes either outside the points or inside the gravel in 2017.
But with the bike, on-paper, an improvement from the machine that Maverick Viñales took to multiple po- diums and a race win at Silverstone in 2016, the former Suzuki world champion is convinced that the reason for Iannone’s poor results so far this year lies less with machinery and more with mentality.
“I don’t think we’re that far behind, but Iannone is a little bit lost between wanting a Suzuki and wanting a Ducati. A Suzuki is never going to be a Ducati, and you’ve got to ride it to its own strong points. Talking to him, it doesn’t seem to have any strong points, but it’s an unchanged bike from last year with a little bit better engine performance, and if you look at it like that it’s a little better than what Maverick rode.
“The Yamaha started strong but got a little bit worse in the middle of the season and is coming up again, the Honda is right around where it was last year and hasn’t got better or worse, and the Ducati seems to have made a consistent improvement – so Suzuki should still be able to fight for those podiums. We shouldn’t be last in both sessions on a Friday. Do you know how hard it is to be last, let alone in two sessions?
“I spoke to him in Austin and he told me ‘oh Kevin, you just wouldn’t believe it. The bike doesn’t stop, it doesn’t start and it doesn’t turn.’ Sure, it doesn’t sound like it was much good, but it was fast in testing, fast at Qatar,
and it looked pretty good cornering when he ran into the back of someone mid-turn!”
Iannone seems beset by a lack of confidence and a lack of motivation – noticeable when he found a sudden burst of extra pace while running 16th at the Catalan Grand Prix when wildcard team-mate Sylvain Guintoli hunted him down and passed him.
But, as someone who’s had experience before with a difficult-to-ride Suzuki, yet still managed to take race wins and title success on one, Schwantz says he knows the solution – even if Iannone doesn’t.
“I know that when you get backed into a corner at Suzuki and you aren’t getting the results you want, the only way to get out of that corner is to work that much harder.
“You’ve got to test, practice, do more than everyone else is doing to try to catch up. Someone like Iannone who has done what he’s done before should have the work ethic to do more laps than anyone else in a practice session – but he doesn’t; why?
“If he isn’t prepared to push, he should go and play on go karts or something instead. He’s got the ultimate job, something that so many people dream about, a factory bike and tons of engineers in Japan who will build you whatever you want – but you have to make sense of it all and give them some direction.
“It’s a really sad situation, because I think everyone knows that the Suzuki isn’t a 20th place motorcycle – we’re better than that, but we just aren’t getting it from our riders.”
‘ The Suzuki is not a 20th-place motorcycle, but we’re not getting it from our riders’ KEVIN SCHWANTZ
Schwantz wants to see more effort and belief from Iannone Iannone has failed to carry on where Vinales left off