Guintoli a fighting fifth at Oulton park
Sylvain Guintoli showed that the effects of his mid-season layoff (due to injury) were all behind him today when he fought back from a third row start to finish fifth in today's first race of the Oulton Park BSB programme.
Guintoli started today on a high note in this morning's final free practice. Held on a wet track after overnight rain, Guintoli showed the slippery conditions held no fears for him as he powered the Worx Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 to second quickest.
The Roll for Pole qualifier, however, didn't run to plan.
Sylvain Guintoli: "Qualifying was a disaster. I'd got my pace going well in Q2, sixth fastest, and was ready to improve on that. But in Q3 I kept making mistakes and never got a good lap in, instead going slower to place 9th fastest - third row for the race starts."
With the first of the three races for this final round being run later this afternoon there was little time to reflect.
Guintoli: "We had a restart after the race was stopped after four laps, but both times I was able to get good starts - at last! - and so I found myself in a five-rider battle for fifth place. To come through and win that battle over the other riders feels fantastic.
"Definitely the race has lifted our spirits and I can't wait for tomorrow. I'll aim to make the jump into the lead group. A podium would be a great way to finish the season."
Jack Valentine, team manager: "A decent day in the office today. It started well with that wet session and that shows we're well placed if it does rain tomorrow.
"But I'm a little bit disappointed with qualifying, Sylvain should have made second row. But in the race he made a good start and held his own. We saw the real Sylvain Guintoli today.
"So we're looking forward to tomorrow. Sylvain's very happy with the set-up on the GSX-R1000 and we'll make no changes. As Sylvain said, there's a lot left to come - from him. He will need to dig deeper - cut some more off his lap times - to make the lead group, but we know, and he knows, he has it in him."
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli
Swan Combi 50 - Roll for Pole
Race one result: