Sylvain Guintoli played down his shoulder-to-shoulder tussle with Michael van der Mark after the latter was penalised for a final corner pass on his team-mate at the Chang International Circuit.

Having been hampered by his neck injury at the Phillip Island opener last month, Guintoli says he continued to struggle with it in the demanding Thai climate, but was positive about the changes made to his PATA Honda over the course of the weekend.

Though disappointed not to be closer to the front as he finished a distant fifth in race one, Guintoli was happier with his bike in the second race, even if a technical issue before it consigned to a starting spot at the back of the grid.

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Making swift progress through the field, Guintoli became embroiled in a battle with team-mate van der Mark, which culminated in the Dutchman squeezing the defending champion at the very final corner, only to run wide onto the run-off area and snatch sixth on the line.

However, stewards deemed his pass unlawful, gifting the spot back to Guintoli. Despite the contentious move, Guintoli shrugged it off, saying he got enjoyment out of the battle.

"In race one I did my best, of course, but we were just too far away from the pace of the front group. I did everything I could, but it turned out to be a bit of a lonely race for fifth. But race two was much more fun, even though we had a small technical problem which meant I had to start last. I had a great start and a great first two corners but then I got a bit over-excited and braked too late in turn five and lost three places.

"Finally I had a great battle with my team-mate which was more entertaining. Towards the end of the race I did my best lap time which was probably faster than my qualifying time, and that felt perfect, but it was difficult to be consistent. It's only my second race on the bike and I'm still suffering from the neck injury in these dehydrating conditions.

"We've now been to two different tracks with different characteristics and we can see that our pace is not as good as our rivals. So that gives us a base to work from and try to improve in key areas. Even though we're not fighting for wins at the moment we're still working to find solutions in the team and that will get the results we want. "