Sylvain Guintoli will make his first MotoGP start since 2011, and first ever for a factory team, in front of his home fans at Le Mans this weekend.

The former World Superbike champion, currently competing for Suzuki in BSB, has been drafted into the factory's MotoGP squad in place of injured rookie Alex Rins.

Guintoli got his first taste of the GSX-RR during testing at Jerez last week, which helped remove some 'apprehension' ahead of an 'amazing experience' at Le Mans.

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"The test in Jerez last week was very positive for me, especially on the second day," Guintoli said. "I was able to work intensively with the tyres and get to know them a little bit better.

"We focused a lot on the hard tyres, likely the ones we will use in the race, and I improved on the pace quite a bit so I'm happy about that.

"It was really great to experience the Suzuki GSX-RR and do this testing. I have a better understanding of the bike and the tyres. That will be useful in France.

"Also the connection that we created with the team is very positive. We shared a lot of information and the feeling is very good.

"I'm really looking forward to Le Mans. The testing got rid of some of my apprehension and I feel more confident, so I can't wait to meet all the French fans and enjoy this amazing experience."

Guintoli was a full-time MotoGP rider in 2007 and 2008, with Tech 3 Yamaha and Pramac Ducati respectively, before switching to Superbike. His best grand prix result is a third place in the 2003 Dutch 250cc race.

The Frenchman will be sharing the pits with Suzuki regular Andrea Iannone, who has scored point in just one race so far due to incidents and accidents in the other three.

"Le Mans is a circuit I like, so I hope I will enjoy it and, most importantly, we will be able to be competitive from the very start,2 said the Italian. "It will be important for us to get some points and get back some positive momentum.

"Last week in Jerez we did very intense work testing many things on the GSX-RR. This gave us some important direction on what we can work on. Hopefully this will also help us to finalize a good setup in Le Mans, which is a tight track with many stop-and-gos."

Le Mans was the scene of the GSX-RR's first MotoGP podium, one year ago, at the hands of Maverick Vinales.

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