Fresh from the Suzuka 8 Hours, Sylvain Guintoli will make his second MotoGP wild-card appearance of the season at Brno this weekend.

The Frenchman featured at the front of the famous Japanese endurance race on his way to helping Yoshimura Suzuki claim a fifth-place finish and will now be looking to better the 13th position as a Suzuki MotoGP wild-card at Catalunya earlier this year.

"The last couple of months have been fantastic, and I’ve been very busy since the race in Barcelona," Guintoli said.

"In July, I made three trips to Japan to prepare for the Suzuka 8 Hours race, and I also had a really interesting test session in Motegi with the MotoGP Test Team.

"Last Sunday, I raced in the legendary Suzuka 8 Hours with the Suzuki Yoshimura Racing Superbike. I got a strong start and it felt amazing to be leading the race during most of my first stint.

"Brno is coming next, a great track where I can’t wait to catchup with the GP Team and ride my GSX-RR again.”

HRC test rider Stefan Bradl, who will replace the injured Jorge Lorenzo this weekend, was also competing at Suzuka, taking third place for Red Bull Honda.

While Guintoli kept busy on track during the summer break, back-to-back falls at Assen (while leading) and Sachsenring (while second) meant Suzuki MotoGP regular Alex Rins would have had plenty to think about over the holidays.

"The holidays are finally over and it’s time to get back on track, which makes me happy!" said the Austin winner. "During these three weeks I had some rest and relaxation, but I wanted to execute a good training programme, so I would be ready to jump into the second part of the Championship.

"The first half of the season has been a positive one for me, not only for the results but especially for the bike performance that has been steadily improving. With the team we are on a good path, so now we have to forget the vacation time and refocus on what’s important; to further improve our strengths."

Rookie team-mate Joan Mir had a more encouraging run-up to the holidays, with three successive top 8 finishes, which began with a MotoGP best so far of sixth in Catalunya.

"I’m ready to get back on my GSX-RR, and actually I can’t wait!" said Mir. "At the last races before the break I found a very positive feeling with the bike and I could steadily improve my performances. I can’t wait to rediscover that feeling and continue working. Brno is a circuit that I like and where I have won in the past, so I have good memories there.”

Mir's crew chief Frankie Carchedi likens the characteristics of Brno to Mugello, where Suzuki finished just half-a-second from victory with Rins earlier this year.

"Brno is a very flowing track - it’s similar to Mugello but without the really long straight. There are a lot of changes of direction, which makes it really important to have an ‘easy’ and well-balanced bike that handles well," Carchedi said.

"The majority of the corners are second gear, so it’s also crucial to have good engine braking and the gearing exactly right. The middle sector suits our bike well and the track is quite wide, which allows for fast and sweeping lines.

"Aerodynamics don’t come into play so much here, but power and torque are useful - especially in the final sector. The weather can vary here; and when it’s hot it can be slippery, but in the wet it’s really grippy!”

An official post-race test will be held at Brno on Monday.

 

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