Double podium for Guintoli at Oulton Park BSB
Sylvain Guintoli served notice today that he is very much a real contender for the BSB championship crown. While placing third twice and losing his championship lead to rival Leon Camier (who took two wins) may seem a less than ideal outcome, the underlying message is Guintoli has the skills and aptitude to deal with the toughest of British tracks as well as the toughest of British racers.
Today's races proved the only things holding back the Worx Crescent Suzuki ace are his starts. As at Brands Hatch, Guintoli made two very indifferent starts today at Oulton Park, necessitating him to fight through the lower leaderboard in each race. To come away with two podiums meant he rode at a pace identical to the race leaders. Confirmation of which came in his lap times - on this first visit to this highly technical course Guintoli's best lap time was barely 0.3-seconds off Camier's.
Guintoli finishes the weekend second in the BSB championship standings, trailing Leon Camier by 11-points. The third round is at Donington Park on May 23-25.
Sylvain Guintoli: "All weekend we have played catch-up. The team have put in so much effort to put me in a position to challenge for the podium. Because of the time taken to learn the circuit we didn't have a perfect set-up for the first race and this hurt me from mid-race on as I struggled for grip. But we made some adjustments and for the second race the bike was brilliant.
"I am happy to come away with two thirds, but I am not happy too. It could have been a lot worse and - because of my starts - it could have been a lot better! For sure, we'll be doing more work on my starts.
"Now I'm really looking forward to Donington. It's a circuit I know really well and I know it'll let the GSX-R1000 show exactly how powerful it is. We will be very competitive there, Leon had better be ready!"
Jack Valentine: "This qualifies as a good day at the office. Sylvain's track learning and his race pace has been nothing less than brilliant. Now all he has to do is master these starts. His second one particularly left him with a lot of work to do - and he really doesn't need to be making the job so hard for himself. Sylvain has more than the capability to ride with Camier, he has the capability to beat him. The two of them will make this a fascinating championship.
"The GSX-R1000 has again been nothing less than fantastic this weekend. What little problems we encountered in the first race we solved with a few minor changes ready for the second. It's a great bike for us to work with."
Race 1 (18 laps):
Race 2 (18 laps):
Championship points (after two rounds): 1 Leon Camier 88, 2 Sylvain Guintoli, Worx Crescent Suzuki, 77, 3 Glen Richards 62, 4 Karl Harris 60, 5 James Ellison 44, 6 Stuart Easton 42, 7 Gary Mason 33, 8 Jason O'Halloran 26, 9 Chris Walker 22, 10 Simon Andrews 22.