Sylvain Guintoli says he will not be present at Aprilia's first World Superbike test of 2014 as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
The Frenchman led much of the 2013 World Superbike Championship season, despite claiming just a single race win all year, but was hampered during the latter half of the season by a shoulder injury sustained in a cycling accident whilst training.
Though Guintoli soldiered on to the end of the year, going on to finish third overall behind Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty, he would sit out the final post-season test at Jerez in preparation for surgery on his troublesome shoulder.
However, in an interview with French publication Sport Bikes
, Guintoli reveals a complication would force him to undergo a second operation, a delay that has contributed to a decision to skip testing at Portimao on 18th January, when Aprilia will travel to the Portuguese venue following the end of the winter testing ban.
Guintoli even goes as far to suggest he won't be back to full fitness for the opening round of the season at Phillip Island on 23rd February, but is confident the substantial gap to the second event in Spain will give him ample opportunity to recover.
"I do not know yet,” he said when asked if he will be back to full strength. “The problem is that this injury is not a fracture, it concerns the joint and can be quite problematic, especially for riding a race bike. It is hard to regain stability.
“Currently I am working every day. I seem to have spent half the winter in the hospital and the rest in physio. It was not the best of winters! For once I am not running around after a contract, I am bothered by physical problems.”
Guintoli isn't the only Aprilia rider currently recovering from an operation, with new team-mate Marco Melandri having undergone surgery on his ankle in November. However, the Italian is expected to be present at Portimao as several teams emerge from the winter testing ban with programmes in Portugal and Almeria in Spain.