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In Malaysia it was a bonus just getting to race, for the first time in three years, even if the bike did not work as the team expected and Rainey scored a runaway victory. Looking back on the year Kevin says that despite a huge improvement, inconsistencies had not been entirely eradicated.

"There were a couple of tracks we struggled at that I really didn't feel like we should have. Shah Alam, Barcelona and Brno, they were our biggest problems. The bike was working everywhere else even where we'd had problems before. We shouldn't have had those problems, it was kind of surprising."

"I think a lot of it was tyre grip, the lack of it. Tyres still seem to affect the Suzuki more than the other bikes. If we've got good grip we've got a good package. If we struggle with tyres we struggle with set up. I don't know why one and the other go hand in hand but it seems like the way it goes."

"I would say that Czecho was the only place that it was a front tyre problem, everywhere else it was a rear. A lot of the times it was the hot temperatures that got to the tyre. I think that the Michelin still initially offered better grip but the performance dropped too much as the race progressed."

Japanese Grand Prix It featured Shinichi Itoh, Daryl Beattie, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz. The Yamaha won. "Rainey was on form, his bike was working well and he was riding it well."

"In Barcelona I went quicker in the Sunday morning warm up than I had in qualifying, using a worn tyre. Then in the race I used the same tyre and it was only five degrees hotter and it was useless, that was all the difference it took."

Through the off season there had been strong rumours that the '93 Yamaha was a disaster, Wayne had said as much but he finished second in Australia and won in Malaysia. He went on to win again in Japan and it looked as though either he had been bluffing or everyone else was doing a lot worse than they had expected.

In fact there were problems with the Yamaha but the full seriousness had yet to manitest itself Kevin might have panicked at this point and decided that he could not afford to go losing points to Rainey. He never blinked, he took a careful third in Malaysia and was second in Japan where the temptation was to overplay his hand on the last lap after a superb battle with Rainey, Beattie and Itoh.

"It came down to four of us at the end and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. A backmarker got me going into the chicane, Wayne and Daryl got by him, I didn't. I started the last lap over a second and a half behind the two boys in front and I got beat by eight hundredths of a second. If things had started on that last lap maybe a little different maybe I could have won but it still would have been tough. Rainey was on form, his bike was working well and he was riding it well."

Kevin had got past Beattie on that final circuit but considered the risk involved in attacking Rainey too great. That left him heading for Europe with a nine point deficit and the unpalatable thought that perhaps the pre season optimism had been misplaced.

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