Suzuki MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli flirts with idea of WorldSBK return

Suzuki MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli has confirmed discussions to return to WorldSBK are taking place, as are negotiations to remain in the Endurance World Championship.
Sylvain Guintoli, Suzuki MotoGP Sepang
Sylvain Guintoli, Suzuki MotoGP Sepang

Guintoli, who last raced in WorldSBK for Puccetti Kawasaki during the final two rounds of 2017, will be out of contract with Suzuki at the end of this season.

Not only will Guintoli be out of contract as the Japanese manufacturer’s official MotoGP test rider, but also as a World Endurance rider after Suzuki pulled the plug on all motorcycle racing participation due to financial reasons

Part of the reigning world champion line-up alongside Gregg Black and former MotoGP rider Xavier Simeon at Yoshimura SERT Motul Suzuki - Guintoli, Black and Simeon are also leading the 2022 championship standings after two rounds - Guintoli has been a big reason for Suzuki’s continued success on the Endurance stage. 

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However, his test rider role in MotoGP has proven to be just as vital after helping develop a GSX-RR that Joan Mir took to the world title in 2020. 

Options to join a different manufacturer are likely to be plentiful for the French rider given his experience and success, but the championship in which he competes in could come as a surprise.

Now 40, Guintoli has not ruled out the possibility of a return to WorldSBK after recent talks took place at Donington Park.

"At the moment I don't know in which direction I'm going," Guintoli told "I'm on the market for next year and the future and I'm talking to a lot of different teams and manufacturers. 

"I have to find out what is possible for me. There are interesting opportunities as a test rider, but I also believe that I can still be competitive in the Superbike or Endurance World Championships and I'm looking around there. 

"I'm one of the most experienced riders and have the necessary speed. At the end of the 2017 season I did a few races for the Puccetti Kawasaki team, which was very positive. 

"At Donington I spoke to Manuel Puccetti and some other teams, let's see what happens. He has a very good team and has made some steps forward since 2017."

A WorldSBK champion with Aprilia in 2014, Guintoli has shown enough pace during his MotoGP wildcard appearances to suggest he could do better than some of the current Superbike riders. 

Guintoli set to be the last of Suzuki’s MotoGP set up to sign elsewhere

Joan Mir, Alex Rins, Portuguese MotoGP, 19th November
Joan Mir, Alex Rins, Portuguese MotoGP, 19th November

With Alex Rins already confirmed at LCR Honda in place of Alex Marquez who has joined Gresini Ducati for the 2023 MotoGP campaign, an announcement of Joan Mir to Repsol Honda is also expected in the near future.

Mir, who like Rins saw his early championship challenge plagued by DNF’s following the confirmation that Suzuki intended to leave MotoGP, will replace Pol Espargaro who is likely to return to KTM in the form of its Tech 3 outfit.

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