Sylvain Guintoli is to remain in the British Superbike Championship next season after penning an extension to his contract with the Worx Crescent Suzuki team.
The Frenchman made the high-profile switch from the premier MotoGP World Championship to the national Superbike series this year, but has seen his maiden season interrupted by a lengthy lay off with a broken leg.
Nonetheless, despite competing in just six races with the team thus far, Guintoli's pace at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, which included a win, a pole position and three further podiums, was enough to convince both parties to continue their relationship into 2010.
Eager to use his experience this season as a stepping stone towards a title tilt next year, Guintoli was delighted to become the first confirmed signing for 2010.
"This is the first time in my career I've signed a contract this early in the year – I think that shows just how comfortable both sides are with each other. Right now we are working on regaining the competitiveness we showed at the beginning of this season, but as well we know now that the experience that I am gaining at the tracks this year will be something we can carry into next season.
“With the experience we will have of the tracks, of the GSX-R and of working together as a team we can look forward to next year with a lot of optimism."
Furthermore, having run just a single machine this season, team manager Jack Valentine went on to confirm the team is planning to expand again to two bikes, preferably with a 'young' rider alongside Guintoli.
"We're very pleased to have Sylvain back on board for 2010 and to have him signed up so early. This allows us to build toward next season as from today, it's almost a head start.
"But as well, this allows us to now focus on our second objective for the new season. It is our desire to have a young rider partner Sylvain in the Worx Crescent Suzuki team in the 2010 season. There's no small challenge in making that happen as we'll need to secure additional backing, but a two-rider team is our intention and will be what we'll now be focusing on."
Despite his lengthy time on the sidelines, Guintoli remains the only non-Airwaves Yamaha rider this season to have won a race this season.