Sylvain Guintoli gave a glimpse as to his potential at World Superbike level after his debut for Suzuki Alstare at Portimao yielded a top ten finish.
Having completed his first season of Superbikes in the British championship, the Frenchman was making his World Superbike debut in Portugal ahead of a full-time switch to the series in 2010.
Despite a fairly slow start in provisional qualifying as he became acquainted with both the circuit and the team, Guintoli hit form in Superpole as he briefly jostled for a spot in the Q3 shootout. Although he'd fall just short in 11th, it was still enough to out-qualify team-mate Yukio Kagayama and BSB rival Leon Camier.
Suffering a technical issue whilst running inside the top ten in race one, Guintoli recovered in race two to enjoy a race long battle with the more experienced Kagayama, the former MotoGP rider winning out eventually to finish tenth.
A promising start to his career as a World Superbike rider, Guintoli will now attempt to get a better understanding of the bike at the upcoming two-day test, where he will joined by Leon Haslam in the team.
“Generally, this has been a great learning experience and I am very happy how it has all gone,” he said. “The team and I gelled right from the start and we have worked together very well this weekend and that's good news for the future.
“I had a technical problem in race one and had to pull out of the race. So, I was so happy to finish race two, be ahead of Yukio and get a top ten result. This series is tough for sure, but I am really looking forward to the challenge and fighting all these guys.
“This weekend was no pressure for me and I enjoyed myself on this track. I am looking forward to the tests here on Tuesday and Wednesday and getting to understand the bike more and more.”