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The 1993 World Championship did not start with the Australian Grand Prix. It started with a perfect off season of testing, the first test was only weeks after the last Grand Prix of 1992. Everything went well from the first test on and Shenton recalls that things seemed to be under control. "We couldn't test all the things we wanted to during the '92 season but at the end of the year we did the testing we wanted so that the factory could make the changes that were needed for the '93 bike. They did a good job, they weren't huge changes, not the sort of thing you can see just by looking at the bike but it worked."

What Suzuki achieved finally was a much more balanced motorcycle, by testing at the Eastern Creek and Shah Alam bogey circuits Suzuki and Kevin proved to themselves and each other that they probably had the problem licked. Doug Chandler had left to join Cagiva when he and Suzuki failed to agree financial terms and he was replaced by Alex Barros. Few thought Barros an adequate replacement for Chandler either in terms of race winning potential or development assistance. Alex proved them wrong.

Kevin's confidence was at an all time high and he revealed just how down he had been during '92. "Last year I never ever really got confident riding the Suzuki and I think that is 90% of riding. I think you have got to have it in your head when you are out there that if you ride it at 105% and the thing starts to push the front, you have got to be able to say, 'No I'm not going to push the front and jump off the thing, I am going to push the front, stick my knee on the deck, stand the thing back up and I'm going to ride it through the corner.' If you are riding without confidence that is when your hands go to the tank and you jump off."

Before the season started he got to the point where he was almost publicly rating his chances of winning the championship, he felt like that for weeks before the first race in Australia and it got to the point where it started to prey on his mind a little. "Physically and mentally I was ready to go racing, I was really really uptight about getting to that first Grand Prix because it had been such a long winter with so many days testing, so much effort put into it. More than anything I was just afraid that we were going to get there and still not have anything that worked as good as everybody else's. When it came to it we did have something that worked really well and the bike is still working well."


On the grid at Eastern Creek. "I just couldn't wait for the first race. I had been doing so much testing it was time to find out whether or not we had been kidding ourselves."

Garry Taylor admits that the pressure was on Kevin at the start of the season. "I'd being dishonest if I didn't admit that I thought that 1993 was a very significant year for Kevin. I'm sure he must have felt the same way, that if he didn't win it that year then he was going to be seen as the next Randy Mamola, who is one of the greatest riders not to win a World Championship."

"Once official practice started I think I was fastest every session except for the morning warm up on Sunday in which we used tyres that we run the day before and I think as I watched everybody leave the pits a lot of the guys had new stuff on. At least one new tyre, front or rear."

"I felt confident going into the race. Watched the 125 and 250 start, had a good idea how quick the lights were going to only to botch the start just about as bad as I ever have in my whole career in motorcycle racing. I've been stuck in the gates at motocross and never been that far behind. But I was real lucky I got everything working good real quick and settled down. Didn't make any silly mistakes and by the end of the first lap I was tenth. I saw Daryl was pulling out a bit of a lead and I thought maybe he would be difficult to catch."


"At that stage I had decided if it came down to really having to push and taking a chance I was going to be more than happy with second place. All of a sudden it was like Daryl was coming back to me once I got past Wayne and Doug, and at the same time Wayne and Doug started coming with me towards Daryl." It turned into a classic struggle which Kevin won in superb style but Rainey still managed second.

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