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Chasing down Gardner at Le Mans... The trophies are waiting. Kevin made a disastrous start from pole position but was seventh at the end of the first lap. Niall was equally slow off the line but not as quick to get to the front. The poor starting of the Suzuki and the inability to match Kevin's charges to the front frustrated Mackenzie. "The bikes wouldn't get off the line at any race but I could get one guy a lap and Kevin could get one guy o corner and get to the front. He was just so much more confident than I was on the bike. That is where he scored as the end of the race was over the first few laps. He is brilliant at passing people."

Dunlop tyre problems hit both Kevin and Wayne at Misano, the Suzuki crossed the line seventh and the Yamaha ninth after a rear wheel change. Two weeks later at the Hockenheimring it was Doohan's Michelin that failed and while he limped home third Kevin passed Wayne into the stadium on the last lap to win one of the classic races.

Half way round the last lap Wayne was in front but coming out of the Ost curve at the far end of the circuit Kevin had the rear wheel hanging out in an unbelievably long power slide. It was driving as well as sliding giving him a superb sling- shot pass on Rainey as they charged down the second to last straight heading for the chicane.

Into the chicane first, Kevin tried to take advantage. "I slowed her up a bit so that Wayne would have to slow when he didn't want to, then I would get the jump out down the last straight." But Kevin miscalculated, he was further ahead than he realised going into the chicane, him slowing just gave Rainey the chance to catch up and he flashed out of the chicane rapidly overhauling the Suzuki.

"As Wayne came past I moved across to pick up the slipstream, I was concentrating on the back wheel of the Yamaha so that I could tuck in right behind as he came past. I wasn't watching ahead, we were closer to the corner than I realised. As I moved in behind he got on the brakes, luckily I was still moving right and I kept going, missed his rear wheel. By the time I looked up the corner was there."

Styles in contrast at Suzuka. Kevin had to alter his dramatically during the race to compensate for the way Lucky Strike Suzuki was behaving. "It has been something that has always been easy for me, to try and change my style mid stream. If I get off into a race and start to have the front push or I fell I don't have the grip I need at the rear I'll always manage to try and find a way to compensate. To try and change my style."

"You can always approach a race with an idea, OK so I'm going to use a little softer tyre, go like hell at the beginning and just hand on at the end. But there are so many times that race strategies go out of the window before you get to the first turn. Either you get a bad start or the other guy does, what is going on behind or in front of you, you have to be able to adjust, to change."

"I've been asked a bunch of times what my strategy is for the race. Well the strategy is to be first person across the line at the end of the day. Beside that I really don't start the race with a strategy. The strategy at the beginning is to get a good start. From there you just play it as it goes. You try and not get set in any plan in case that goes wrong and you are flustered and unable to come up with any other ideas."

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