Sylvain Guintoli insists he has the pace to challenge for victories in the World Superbike Championship, despite seeing his 2013 title hopes take a blow with a wholly unsatisfying brace of results at Laguna Seca.
A frustrating weekend for the Frenchman, who came to the USA eight points behind leader Tom Sykes in the standings, Guintoli initially appeared to have the pace to battle for wins this weekend after qualifying on pole position and twice leading the first race prior to red flag stoppages.
However, having lost out in the third attempt at a start in race one when he was shuffled down to fifth place, Guintoli again struggled to get amongst the leaders when it mattered in race two as he endured a fairly lonely afternoon in fifth once more.
A disappointing conclusion to a weekend that had looked so positive initially, Guintoli maintains he has the pace to run at the front, but admits he is 'lacking something' when embroiled in a tight pack.
“To be honest this was a disappointing race two. I expected much more and, all things considered, the start was good. I felt like I could pass Tom and Eugene, but instead I came under attack from Melandri and Giugliano and dropped back behind the lead group. The pace was really fast and when you lose a few metres it's hard to make up that gap.
“Like the first race, when I'm in the middle of the pack I'm lacking something. I'm unable to maintain the same pace that I can set when I'm riding by myself like I was in the first two starts in race one. It's something I need to work on because we didn't make any changes to the bike compared to yesterday.
“I need to get focused again, I'm not lacking in speed since race one when I was out front I was able to be very fast. Magny Cours is coming up in just a few days and that's my home race where I hope to make up some important points.”
Guintoli's fifth place finishes means he has slipped to third in the standings for the first time this year – 24 points off the lead -, while he is also no longer the leading Aprilia rider having been surpassed by team-mate Eugene Laverty.