Schwantz at­tacks:

‘ Iannone must try harder’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - By Simon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

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


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