Kevin Schwantz, the former world 500cc champion, announced his retirement yesterday, saying his body could no longer take the strain of racing. "I can no longer count on my body 100 per cent," said the 31-year-old American after receiving a "life achievement" award on the opening day of practise for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Known as the "Texan Lion," Schwantz was world champion in 1993 and has won 25 grands prix since making his 500cc debut in 1986. However, he has not competed in the last two rounds of the world championship. "I'm having problems with my left wrist," he said. "Also my heart's not fully in it any more."
He said he would remain with Suzuki as a test rider this year but then hoped to switch to four wheels in the Nascar series or even truck racing.
Officials said it was expected that Schwantz would be honoured by having his race number - 34 - permanently withdrawn from the 500cc class.
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