“I’m looking forward to racing the Suzuka 8-Hour in July with Noriyuki Haga and Yukio Kagayama on a Suzuki GSX-R1000,” said Schwantz. “Suzuka holds a special place in my heart because that is where I won my first 500cc Grand Prix in 1988.
“The last time I raced the 8-Hour was in 1992 with Doug Chandler and we did not finish due to mechanical issues. With only two riders, it used to be a really, really physical race and now with three riders it is still going to be tough but not quite as much. Although eight hours on a 1000cc bike is going to be very physically-demanding, I will need to increase my training program to possibly do two-three hours on the bike.
“I’ve never have won the 8-Hour and with my team-mates that are as strong as Yukio and Nori, along with our Dunlop tires, I think we stand a good chance.”
Schwantz has 25 GP wins, 29 pole starts and the 1993 world championship to his credit, among a host of other accomplishments, and since his retirement has been hard at work training young riders at the Schwantz School. In 1999 Schwantz was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and upon announcement of his retirement in ’95, the FIM retired his competition #34. Most recently, Schwantz has been a controversial figure thanks to his public battles with the newly built Circuit of the Americas and Dorna over MotoGP rights at the Texas circuit.
Kagayama was part of the 2007 Suzuka 8 Hour winning Suzuki team and has earned race wins in World Superbike, British Superbike and the All Japan Superbike Championship. He was also part of the 2012 World Endurance Championship title winning team, SERT. Haga has competed in MotoGP and World Superbike but was unable to clinch a title in either series despite coming close in WSBK a number of times. Haga won the Suzuka 8 Hour in 1997 in his first foray outside the All Japan Superbike Championship.
The 2013 Suzuka 8 Hour race is scheduled for July 28, 2013, so be sure to check back to MotoUSA for full coverage of the event.