Guintoli flat out in bid to win
Motogp ● WSB ● BSB ● Roads ● Off-road 14-PAGE SPECIAL First test for Guintoli as team take delivery oof all new bike and factory Yoshimura parts
While MCN’S Michael Neeves was sampling the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the first time at the world press launch in the Australian sunshine (see page 4), 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli got his first taste of the bike he’ll ride in the MCE British Superbike Championship this year at a cold, wet Mallory Park.
The Frenchman turned in 50 laps of the Leicestershire circuit in close to freezing conditions as his new Bennetts Suzuki team run by Hawk Racing put the bike, which they’ve been working on since November, through its paces for the first time.
The sole purpose of the test was to assess how well the Bsb-spec MOTEC electronics would work on the bike, saving the team valuable time when they head out to Spain to begin their more extensive testing programme next month.
“This test was what you’d call a shakedown,” Guintoli told MCN. “We needed to check how the bike gets on with the BSB MOTEC system as it was the first time it had run on it. We need to be able to get to the first test in Spain having already checked that the bike is working and that’s what this test allowed us to do. If the first time you take the bike out is in Spain, you can end up spending a lot of time in the box fixing problems and that’s not what you want when you have good weather conditions.”
The test was the first time Guintoli,
who has been in WSB since 2009, had ridden with BSB’S spec electronics, which includes minimal rider aids and no traction control.
“Let’s just say riding without traction control at a wet Mallory Park with three degree track temperature was interesting, but the feeling was good. Everything was working which is the most important thing. We do these tests expecting teething problems but we didn’t have any and everything was really smooth. We managed to do a 59 second lap, which I was quite pleased with in those conditions!”
However, the test wasn’t Guintoli’s first time riding the new GSX-R. Two weeks ago, he flew out to Sepang to spend three days with the factory Yoshimura team testing the Suzuka 8 Hour bike, which he’s likely to ride at the prestigious event in July.
“The first thing you notice is just how much Yoshimura have done with the bike,” he said. “They’ve already got a pretty much finished race bike, so it’s good our team are working closely with them. They’ve got everything, some proper factory stuff.”
Riding in 35-degree sunshine as opposed to three degrees at Mallory enabled Guintoli to get a real first impression of the GSX-R’S potential.
“It does feel quick,” he explained. “The power is noticeable but the engine character is like nothing I have ever felt. It’s almost like Motogp power in the way it is delivered, so smooth and full through the rev range from the bottom end to the top and it revs quite high too.
“Everything I’ve read about the bike was positive and on paper, it is a weapon. But it was nice to get on it and see for myself as you never know how you’ll personally find a bike until you ride it.”
Guintoli will brave the cold again this month with a second test alongside team-mate, and 2016 British Superstock champion, Taylor Mackenzie at Mallory Park before the team head to Spain for testing at Cartagena and Almeria ahead of the 2017 BSB season kicking off at Donington Park at the end of March.
‘Riding without traction control at a wet Mallory Park was interesting!’ SYLVAIN GUINTOLI