Title contender Sylvain Guintoli could not hide his disappointment at finishing fifth in the first World Superbike race of the weekend at Laguna Seca, the pole sitter losing out in both red flag breaks on a day he looked capable of dominating.
Coming into the weekend determined to boost his title credentials with a much-needed victory, Guintoli began the day well by claiming his first pole position of the season before sprinting into a comfortable lead during the early stages of race one.
While a subsequent red flag stop would go on to wipe out that advantage, Guintoli was still able to get out front at the restart, only for a second halt to proceedings to force him to do it all again, this time over a 12 laps sprint.
However, at the crucial third attempt, Guintoli would get away poorly and – after clashing with Tom Sykes on the run to the first corner – would find himself running in third position.
From here, Guintoli admits he couldn't establish the same rhythm as before and would proceed to get caught up in an intense fight for the podium positions. In the end, the Frenchman would lose out to his main title rivals, getting bumped down to fifth place at the chequered flag.
An unsatisfying result on a day that had started so positively, Guintoli is eager to make up for the disappointment in race two.
“I'm definitely disappointed. We went from dominating Superpole and the first two starts to struggling to finish in fifth place. The end result doesn't do us justice. I had the right pace and serenity to win this race. Unfortunately being in the pack is not like riding out front - everything becomes more difficult.
“You can't follow your own lines and that takes away from your pace. In fact, I wasn't able to make the same times as before. It's a shame because this was a weekend where we could have taken home some important points, but we'll be sure to make up for it tomorrow!”