Schwantz’s racing return!

At 48, #34 dusts off his leathers to ride at Suzuka 8-Hours. Nope, it's not an April Fools.

KEVIN Schwantz is listed as the third rider alongside Yukio Kagayama and Noriyuki Haga in Kagayama’s own squad.

The new team – which is running a Suzuki GSX-R1000 (of course) – will make its endurance debut at the event on July 25-28.

The team’s release quotes Schwantz, who’s 500cc world title came two decades ago in 1993, as saying: “With two of the toughest and fastest riders, along with three riders who know Suzuka well, I believe that there is a big chance to win.  Although I have been retired from racing for a while now, I have been riding very frequently as I organize a riding school, so there should not be any problem.  I can’t wait until this “Mid-summer Festival” starts.  I have been continuously saying that I have never won at Suzuka 8 Hours, and would like to post a new page in my racing career by winning the race.”

Kagayama said: “Team KAGAYAMA will be racing at the Suzuka 8 Hours for the first time this year.  In order to achieve results, I thought I needed Noriyuki and Kevin whom I both deeply respect, and negotiated with them.  I am now happy to make this announcement of the Dream Team.  I thank them both that they have accepted my offer.  The motorcycle racing in Japan needs such big surprise! The last time I won at Suzuka 8 Hours was in 2007, and with the help of my teammates, I aim to win this year.”

Haga commented: “I made a promise with Yukio in the past, that I will race with him together at Suzuka, and now I am happy that I will be able to fulfill that promise.  Along with my teammates, we will aim to win the race, and take the best from the opportunity Team KAGAYAMA has given me.  I am looking forward to racing with Yukio and Kevin, to be on a Suzuki machine for the first time, and my first Dunlops in 11 years.”