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Rainey v Schwantz: An all-American duel

Rainey v Schwantz: An all-American duel takes a look at some of the most engrossing battles between riders, complete with video highlights, starting with the incredible fight for supremacy between the Americans that lasted throughout the early 90s.

Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz arrived on the premier class scene in the late 80s, and commenced a personal rivalry which encompassed two very different styles and approaches to racing.

Rainey won three consecutive titles with Yamaha from 1990-1992, while Schwantz got the better of his fellow countryman in the 1993 season, taking the World title on a Suzuki. With just under half a century of premier class victories between themselves (Schwantz took 25, Rainey 24) the pair were close competitors, which often led to explosive encounters.

“You talk to anybody who talks about Grand Prix racing and they say ‘man, the early nineties and the late eighties: that was when it was at its best’,” explained Schwantz, before going on to discuss how the intense competition between himself and Rainey led to an admiration of one another in later years.

“It’s great to see a relationship between two guys that absolutely hated each other’s guts to start with turn out to be something, the amount of respect that we have for each other now is pretty amazing,” he added.

Rainey’s desire to get the better of his opponent was just as strong, and the presence of such a tough adversary was what pushed him to achieve what he did.

“It was intense,” stated Rainey. “I knew that Kevin was going to race me hard from the beginning of the race to the end. I knew that he probably wanted to beat me more than anybody else. Sometimes it only came down to me and him and I knew it was going to go on until the last turn of the race, and fortunately for me I believe that I won most of those battles. He was a big influence on my life for sure.”

You can watch interviews with both riders as well as the best moments of their countless meetings on the track in the attached video. Tomorrow, relives Mick Doohan and Alex Crivillé’s close encounters.

MotoGP, 2010, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz

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