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Suzuki should consider Iannone for 2017, says Schwantz
The Suzuki MotoGP team should consider hiring Andrea Iannone next season if the Italian is dropped by Ducati, according to 1993 500cc champion Kevin Schwantz.
Iannone's future at Ducati remains up in the air, with the Italian marque yet to decide whether he or Andrea Dovizioso will continue alongside new signing Jorge Lorenzo next year.
Both Italian riders are thought to be candidates to join Suzuki if they are not retained, especially if Maverick Vinales ultimately decides to accept an offer to replace Lorenzo at Yamaha.
Schwantz said were he team manager, he would choose Iannone to either partner or replace Vinales.
"I think Iannone still has his best years ahead," said Schwantz. "I'd rather have a guy who rides with a lot of attitude and heart, and it's my duty to put the reins on him and provide him with a calm, methodical engineer.
"I'd pick that guy over someone who I was having to light a fire under."
While Schwantz would advise Suzuki to look at hiring Iannone to partner Vinales, he said that if the team does lose the Spaniard to Yamaha, it should retain Aleix Espargaro for a third season.
"If Maverick leaves, Aleix's value goes up," said Schwantz. "He's a capable rider and he'd be in the best position to gauge the team's progress from one year to the next.
"Also, if you are bringing in another rider like Iannone, then Aleix is a good reliable teammate for a young guy to lean on.
"They're actually the same age, but Aleix has way more years of experience at this level. So Iannone can emulate him and try and improve his racecraft."
Possibly Dovizioso, but not Pedrosa
Asked if he regarded Dovizioso in the same light as Iannone, Schwantz replied: "Dovi is good, consistent – and I think he should be a lot higher up in the championship. He's had some terrible luck this year.
"But I'd only consider him to partner Vinales as a replacement for Espargaro. I wouldn't choose to have a line-up of Dovizioso and Espargaro because they have the same kind of qualities – experience and consistency. They don't have Iannone's aggression."
Schwantz said hiring Honda's Dani Pedrosa, were he to become available, would be "a step in the wrong direction" for Suzuki.
"I like Dani and on his day, he can match anyone," he said, "but he's 30, and he's reached that stage where everything has to be perfect for him to deliver.
"Well let me tell you, I did over 100 races at this level, and the number of races where I had a perfect bike, I could count on one hand and have fingers left over."
"I'd sooner build my team around a rising star whose best days are yet to come and keep hold of Aleix as my consistent baseline."
Vinales still the ideal team leader
Schwantz re-iterated that Suzuki should do everything possible to keep hold of Vinales, and that team and rider are a perfect match.
"Suzuki took four years off, and has now been back for just a year and a bit," Schwantz observed, "and Maverick is at that same stage – he's only in his second season.
"So for where they're at, I'd pay Maverick enough to make him stay. Suzuki have developed a bike that he's come to grips with.
"I compare it with my situation… should Suzuki have brought in [Eddie] Lawson or [Wayne] Gardner to help develop the bike for me because they were aces with a lot of experience?
"No, I think you put your faith in the young guy who's proven consistently fast and has a big heart. Then you decide who you want as your second rider."
Sumur : Motorsport.com