Sylvain Guintoli swiftly demonstrated that he had lost none of his race-winning pace or potential during his enforced absence from competition in putting together a strong qualifying performance at Cadwell Park that leaves him seventh on the starting grid for the opening encounter in the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship outing around the daunting Lincolnshire circuit.
Despite having spent three months off the bike and making his Cadwell debut over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Worx Crescent Suzuki star nonetheless wound up less than two tenths of a second shy of a front row position, easily making the final ten in the Roll-for-Pole and claiming seventh spot at the close.
“We've been making good progress,” underlined the French returnee. “The rate of learning has been flowing nicely and in those last sessions, Q2 and Q3, I got a feeling I was properly riding again. Up until then it had felt like I was just cruising – which you need to be doing when you're learning this circuit.
“It's a shame we're not on the front row; we're almost there, but on my final fast lap I made a small mistake and I could tell it cost me a good three tenths of a second. I certainly feel there's more to come.”
“These past two days have been fantastic,” enthused team manager Jack Valentine, clearly pleased to have the man from Montélimar back. “Everything is going to plan; Sylvain's got faster with every session. This place is extremely technical and very narrow so you have to be careful with your learning and, as ever, Sylvain's been going about his job the right way.
“Given his best sector times, Sylvain had the pace to secure third-fastest, so we're happy he's learnt what he needs. The times are very tight from second through to seventh too, so I'm sure he'll improve again [on Monday]. We're looking to get a good first race under our belt, and then we'll see what will come for the second.”