Sylvain Guintoli insists that his focus for the 2010 season is firmly on fighting for the World Superbike Championship title as the Frenchman prepares to make his full-time debut in the series next year.
The former MotoGP rider will move into WSBK with the Suzuki Alstare team after a season running in British Superbikes in 2009, partnering Leon Haslam in an all-new line-up for the former champions.
Guintoli competed in the 2009 season finale for his new team before heading into pre-season testing and the Frenchman insisted he was excited about the challenge ahead as he and Haslam seek to improve the fortunes of Francis Batta's team.
“Both Suzuki and I have big aims,” he told the official WSBK website. “We're in the championship to win. The last few years they have been struggling, but the new bike has got lots of potential and at the start, we're certainly going to try and get on the podium.
“There are lots of fast riders out there and it'll be interesting now that Spies has gone. I've been following WSBK for years and you can see how close the times are, there is no space for any mistakes. I think a lot of people will be winning the races and it'll be a big fight.”
Guintoli added that he didn't feel extra pressure to perform following the difficult season endured by the Alstare team last year with the whole outfit in positive fashion heading into 2010.
“The only pressure is positive because the way the team works is positive,” he said. “Everything is flowing nicely and we want to keep it that way. Last year, Suzuki started well, then Max [Neukirchner] got injured, Yukio [Kagayama] as well. It was a difficult year but it wasn't because the bike was not competitive.
“Suzuki and Alstare have given me the chance to rebuild and I can feel this positive energy. They and me both want to get back to the top and this is the motivation.”