Sylvain Guintoli is hoping to end an injury-interrupted debut season in the British Superbike Championship with a strong showing at this weekend's Oulton Park triple header.
The former MotoGP rider made an instant impact with victory in his very first BSB race, which he followed up with three further podiums in a row to solidify his title ambitions - only for a leg breaking warm-up lap collision with Josh Brookes at Donington Park to sideline Guintoli for four events.
Whilst unable to repeat his excellent early-season form since his comeback, the Worx Crescent Suzuki rider is looking forward to racing on known ground for the very first time this year, having claimed two third places in May's visit to the challenging Oulton Park circuit.
“I'm really looking forward to this weekend. We've been getting back into the rhythm of racing step-by-step, and yes there have been a few hiccups, but I think we are ready to be up at the front again,” said Sylvain, who has taken a best race finish of seventh in the three rounds since his comeback.
“It will help that this is the first time we've repeated a track as we'll have good set-up data and circuit knowledge to build on. It would be great to get back up front.
“Last time out at Silverstone, although the results weren't so hot, by the end we had top-five pace, so I think it's quite possible for me to make the step up this weekend. For now, though, watching the clouds gather, I'm just hoping the weather stays dry!”
Team manager Jack Valentine is satisfied with Guintoli's progress since his comeback.
"We've been reviewing Sylvain's last three meetings and with the exception of Croft I think Sylvain's been making good progress,” he said. “While he was out with injury, the paddock had been finding their form, so this end of the season it's been a tougher fight for him to learn the tracks, find the perfect set-up and fight for position. But he was gathering good pace by the end of the weekend at Silverstone, it's coming together.
"So he's very confident coming into this round. At last we're arriving at a track he knows, and this is one of the tracks where he and the GSX-R1000 have been at their strongest – and with two podiums at our last visit I think we stand a very good chance of seeing a resurgent Sylvain this weekend."
Guintoli starts this weekend's final round eleventh in the championship, but 49 points behind fourth place Brookes (HM Plant Honda) - with a potential 75 points available.