Sylvain Guintoli says he's aiming to be part of the Yoshimura Suzuki squad for this year's Suzuka 8-Hour race having completed a three-day test with the team in Sepang.
Guintoli has already confirmed his return to the MCE British Superbike championship in 2017 with the Hawk Racing-run Bennetts Suzuki team, which became just one of four squads to receive factory support this year alongside the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), the Yoshimura MotoAmerica team and the Yoshimura team for the Suzuka 8-Hour.
The 2014 World Superbike champion has spent the three-day Sepang test on the Suzuka 8-Hour specification Suzuki GSX-R1000 and is keen to be part of the team's rider line-up for the prestigious event this year.
“Suzuka is not confirmed yet but Yoshimura, the team that runs the bike at Suzuka, is who I tested with and in Suzuka-specification so we will see," Guintoli told Crash.net
. "It was a very good way for me to start working with them.”
Reflecting on his initial feel from the new GSX-R1000, Guintoli has been impressed by its power output and how quickly he could adapt to the bike despite his last track outing coming in October with former team Pata Yamaha in the World Superbike season finale in Qatar.
“It was very good on the second day as I managed to do quite a lot and get a really good understanding of the bike,” he said. “I am very impressed with how far the bike is already. The level is very good and we'll have now have to try the bike in BSB specification because this was with full factory electronics. The base of the bike seems really efficient so I'm very happy.
“The engine character is the main thing for me, the engine feels very, very fast. I was on the straights with factory Honda and factory Yamaha superbikes and both times our bike was very strong.”
Guintoli will now return to his home in England before commencing pre-season testing with Bennetts Suzuki ahead of his BSB comeback.
The French rider's rookie BSB campaign came in 2009 when injury truncated his year before stepping up to World Superbikes with the Japanese manufacturer in 2010.
Additional reporting by Peter McLaren