Sylvain Guintoli has begun testing the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 in preparation for the 2017 MCE British Superbike championship alongside factory Suzuki riders in a private test in Sepang.

The 2014 World Superbike champion is gearing up for his return to the British series with Hawk Racing-run Bennetts Suzuki which becomes just one of four factory-backed squads worldwide alongside the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), the Yoshimura MotoAmerica team and the Yoshimura team for the Suzuka 8-Hour.

Guintoli was testing in Sepang alongside Rodger Hayden and Toni Elias from the MotoAmerica squad and Suzuki factory rider Nobuatsu Aoki. The new Suzuki the Frenchman was riding in Malaysia is not believed to be BSB-specification, while his Bennetts Suzuki only received the new GSX-R1000 at its British base last week.

An All Japan Road Race championship specification version and one close to MotoAmerica specification is being tested by Suzuki at Sepang, with Guintoli getting an early opportunity to become familiar with the new GSX-R1000 before beginning BSB testing back in Europe in the coming weeks.

Guintoli last competed on a Suzuki in his rookie World Superbike campaign in 2010, while his truncated sole BSB season in 2009 came with the Worx Crescent Suzuki squad.

Elsewhere, the new-look JG Speedfit Kawasaki squad began its pre-season testing schedule in Jerez with Leon Haslam and Luke Mossey alongside a number of World Superbike and World Supersport squads.