Worx Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine is confident Sylvain Guintoli has the pace to match current ViSK.com British Superbike Championship leader Leon Camier – but only if he can sort his starts out.
Guintoli put in a fine performance on his first visit to the Oulton Park circuit over the weekend, qualifying fourth and finishing third in both races.
However, on both occasions the Frenchman was forced to fight his way back into contention after bad starts left him playing catch up for the remainder of the races.
Indeed, while team manager Valentine says his fighting rides are a sure sign of his 'quality' as a rider, he considers it to be a waste if he has already put the effort in to qualify that high.
“It was a fantastic performance on his first time around a fast and technical circuit. The second podium in particular was fantastic, because he was well down at the first corner and he got up to tenth and stayed there for a bit. To get to third shows the quality of rider he really is. He just has to master the starts though and it is frustrating to put all that effort in, qualify on the front row and then lose all that time at the start.”
Valentine goes as far to suggest that Guintoli would have challenged for victory at Oulton Park, had he gotten away from the line better.
“If he got the start, you would have seen a real battle between himself and Leon. This is the big area we have to work on, because the chassis and the bike is working well. We just have to improve the start.”