Sylvain Guintoli ensured Suzuki team-mate Leon Haslam wouldn't have the entire spotlight trained on him following the first round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship after launching a determined bid for victory in race two.
While much of the emphasis has focused on Haslam, particularly after his pole position and ensuing race one victory, Guintoli did his bit to grab a share of the headlines in race two when he muscled his way past his team-mate to assume the lead.
Setting the fastest lap in the process, a feisty looking Guintoli proceeded to maintain his advantage for several laps, quashing any team order assumptions by dicing closely with Haslam.
Eventually, an error whilst trying to stave off Haslam and a charging Carlos Checa
late on in the race ended his victory hopes, while a pass by Michel Fabrizio
would drop him to fourth at the chequered flag.
Nonetheless, Guintoli was pleased with his performance in what remains only his eighth career Superbike event.
“I have really enjoyed today and it's been great fun,” the Frenchman, who finished sixth in race one, said. “I can't remember the last time I was leading a world championship race, so to lead quite a lot of race two was a great feeling and now I want to do it again!
“When I was in front, I felt comfortable and I knew I could keep up a good pace. Everything felt very smooth and it was all going to plan until I made a small mistake and Leon and then Carlos went through. Carlos and I touched in turn eight when my elbow was in contact with his front wheel and then I tried a bit too hard to get back straightaway. I perhaps should have been a bit more patient because that's where I lost ground.
“I could have had a better result in the first race if I hadn't had such a bad start. My pace was good, but I was too far off the leaders. I am learning about WSBK race pace and also the fact that the races are longer than what I have been used to. I am very happy with all the work we've done and am enjoying riding this bike so much.
“It was nice to get a trophy (for the fastest lap in race two) and I hope that it will just be the start of many to come. I am looking forward to Portimao and my next trophy.”