News 26 Oct 2009

WSBK: Guintoli scores top 10 in replacement round at Portimao


New Alstare Suzuki rider Sylvain Guintoli raced to 10th place in the second race at today’s World Superbike 14th round at Portimao in Portugal after failing to finish the opening leg.

Both he and team mate Yukio Kagayama were forced to pull out of race one due to technical issues and in Kagayama’s case, being hit from behind, before both bounced back to take 10th and 11th places respectively in the second leg.

Noriyuki Haga (Ducati) had a 15-point point lead over Ben Spies (Yamaha) before today’s title showdown, but that evaporated when he crashed out after just six laps of the first race. Spies won the race, with Jonathan Rea (Honda) second and Max Biaggi (Aprilia) third, giving Spies a 15 point lead going into the final race of the year. Michel Fabrizio (Ducati) won the second race, with Haga second and Rea third, but Spies took fifth place to take the title by just six points.

Sylvain Guintoli – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 10th:

“Generally, this has been a great learning experience and I am very happy how it has all gone. The team and I gelled right from the start and we have worked together very well this weekend and that’s good news for the future. I had a technical problem in race one and had to pull out of the race. So, I was so happy to finish race two, be ahead of Yukio and get a top-10 result. This series is tough for sure, but I am really looking forward to the challenge and fighting all these guys. This weekend was no pressure for me and I enjoyed myself on this track. I am looking forward to the tests here on Tuesday and Wednesday and getting to understand the bike more and more. ”

Yukio Kagayama – Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 11th:

“I am angry about my last race with this great team because it did not go as I wanted. On the first lap of the first race I was hit from behind by Camier and that caused me to crash. He must have missed his braking point by a long way, but the really bad thing is that he kept upright and carried on to finish the race, whereas I was down in the gravel. That was not a good start to the day and I came back to the pits feeling very angry. After the second race, he came to see me and he apologised for hitting me, so then I did not feel so bad.
My bike was too badly damaged to use in race two, so I had to use my spare bike instead. This bike had a different set-up and was more aggressive to ride, so it was not easy to push it hard. I think this bike had a different engine character and it was just not as rideable as my number one bike. I did my best, but I ended 11th and that did not make me feel happy.

“I am sad because this is my last race with the team and we have had many good times together, especially in my first year with them in 2005. Some mechanics have changed from my team to my team mate’s team, but most of the mechanics have worked with me at some stage and that makes it feel like a big family. I want to thank Francis Batta, Patricia, the whole team and everybody concerned for all their hard work and support during these five years. I will miss them all, but maybe I will get a wild card ride in England next year and see everybody again. Once again, many thanks to everybody.”