Paul Denning has described Sylvain Guintoli as the 'highest quality rider' on the British Superbike grid as he and the Crescent Suzuki team continue their preparations for the 2009 season.
Denning, team manager of Suzuki's MotoGP effort, is widely attributed for luring former Alice Ducati MotoGP rider Guintoli to the British series after a difficult 2008 season saw the Frenchman fall out of favour with available teams.
Choosing the British series as a means of kick-starting his career, Guintoli arrives on the scene with considerable motorcycle experience, albeit minus knowledge of the circuits he will encounter this season.
Accepting that the likes of Cadwell Park and Mallory Park will be considerably different to the circuits he has raced on in recent years, Denning is nonetheless confident that Guintoli is a force to be reckoned with in 2009.
“BSB is going to be as tough as ever, with a lot of fast and hungry riders,” he told Crash.net
. “In our opinion Sylvain is the highest quality rider in the series. The disadvantage is that he's got to learn a lot of racetracks.
“But his commitment to that is complete; he's already been to quite a few of the tracks during the winter in cars to understand the basic layout. He's a quality rider and I don't think learning the tracks will be a problem for him.”
Although it looks increasingly likely that Crescent will run just a single GSX-R1000 K9 for Guintoli in 2009, preparations for the new season continue apace with a test in Spain.
“[On Tuesday] the team began the second day of a test down in Calafat It's the first proper test with the 2009 GSX-R1000. Initial impression seems very good; Sylvain had a very, very solid first day, did a lot of laps and had no durability problems. The base package felt good and he said he simply needs to push harder to make the next step. So a positive start.
“The bike has lots of logical improvements over the 2008 model, it's going to be a stronger package for sure and it's good to see Neukirchner and Yukio have already been competitive on it in the World Superbike testing. So we are very encouraged.”