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Doohan and Schwantz on the same team?! It could have happened, according to Mick Doohan, had it not been for the intervention of Barry Sheene.

A rider pairing that would have changed racing history – Doohan and Schwantz – was thwarted in 1989 in an intervention by Barry Sheene.

An untold story was confirmed at Goodwood last year, when Mick Doohan revealed to Kevin Schwantz that they were almost teammates. Mick had a verbal agreement with the late Garry Taylor (former manager of the Suzuki Grand Prix team) to join Suzuki, when it was gazumped by Honda.

Doohan and Schwantz

Kevin Schwantz (left) and Mick Doohan. What a team that would have been!

Sheene, living in Australia, told Mick that Honda was a better bet, and promised to fix the situation. Before he passed away earlier this year, Taylor told AMCN’s Michael Scott: “Barry called me, said that Mick was very superstitious, and had dreamed that joining Suzuki would be very dangerous.”

Taylor knew it was nonsense, but – always pragmatic – had no option. “A contract is worthless if either party doesn’t want to keep it,” he said.

In Mick’s place on the Pepsi-Suzuki, Taylor signed Ron Haslam. Doohan joined Rothmans Honda… and went on to five world championships.

Schwantz, who himself came close to joining Yamaha at the end of 1989, had no idea of how close he and Doohan came to being teammates.

“Well, that would have been a strong team,” Schwantz mused.


The late Garry Taylor (right) with Kevin Schwantz