Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli will make an early start to his Superbike World Championship campaign after being confirmed as a starter for this weekend’s final round of the 2009 series at Portimao in Portugal, replacing the injured Max Neukirchner.
Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli will make an early start to his Superbike World Championship campaign after being confirmed as a starter for this weekend’s final round of the 2009 series at Portimao in Portugal.
Guintoli, who recently inked a deal to switch from the Crescent Suzuki BSB team to the Alstare effort in WSBK next season, will line up alongside regular rider Yukio Kagayama in replacement of the injured Max Neukirchner.
The decision has displaced Australian Karl Muggeridge from the team after he had previously been the replacement rider for Neukirchner at a number of rounds, giving Guintoli the opportunity to gain experience before his fulltime rookie campaign next year.
“It’s hard to describe my feelings about racing for a factory team like Suzuki Alstare next weekend,” said the former MotoGP rider. “I have seen on TV how competitive World Superbike is and I am really looking forward to this challenge.”
Guintoli will have a lot of work to do come Friday’s practice, gelling with a new team and also acclimatising himself with a new circuit.
“I have never ridden at Portimao before, but I know that it is quite technical and there are many changes of elevation and lots of blind corners,” he said. “That means that I will have to start off by learning which way the track goes and take my time getting to know that and my new team.”
Practice kicks off on Friday morning, in a weekend where the series will go down to the wire between Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies.