Sylvain Guintoli has confirmed that he is to make his much-anticipated British Superbike Championship comeback at Cadwell Park at the end of the month – and has revealed that on his return, he will be far from content with merely 'making up the numbers'.
After storming into an early lead in the title standings with victory and a second place finish in the season curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch back in April and following that up with a brace of further rostrum finishes at Oulton Park three weeks later, Guintoli suffered a broken tibia and fibula in an accident in round three at Donington Park at the end of May.
A long recuperation process ensued, causing the Frenchman to miss five meetings – at Thruxton, Snetterton, Knockhill, Mallory Park and Brands Hatch – and dropped him well out of contention for glory. However, with fourth place the best he can now realistically aim for in the final rankings – second and third remain mathematical, albeit highly unlikely, possibilities – Guintoli has revealed that he will be going '100 per cent' and all-out to come home atop the rostrum on as many occasions as he can over the balance of the campaign.
A successful test at Cadwell on Tuesday – during which the 27-year-old completed 45 laps of the demanding Lincolnshire circuit – demonstrated that Guintoli's leg is now strong enough to return to competition, 14 weeks on from its break. To his evident delight.
“It's great to be back,” enthused the former MotoGP star. “I've missed this a lot. I've been a long time not on a bike, and while I could deal with it at the start, to be honest, it got worse as the time dragged by.
“I did a brief ride last week on a Superstock bike at a Mallory Park track day just to see if I could physically ride. That went okay, so we came here (to Cadwell) with the BSB bike and went for the full test. This really is some track, so I gave my leg a full work-out what with the Mountain and all, and it feels alright. Mentally, too, I found I had no hang-ups.
“Now I'm looking forward to the racing in two weeks' time. And I'm not coming back for fifth place or anything like that – I'm not making up the numbers. I'll be as I always am, 100 per cent into it.”
“Sylvain passed the test with flying colours,” underlined Worx Crescent Suzuki team manager Jack Valentine. “We set the bike up just as he last had it, and he got on and rode it like he's never been away. He did 45 laps and at the end he wasn't even sweating. His lap times were excellent as well.
“He's been away for three months, the track looked decidedly green and he's only been here once before for a few laps on a road bike, so his pace was impressive – not exactly lap record, but fast enough to say this is the Sylvain we know and love. We're really looking forward to the Cadwell races now!”