Sylvain Guintoli doesn’t expect his pre-season injury to hamper him at all after a positive start to the Thai Round of the Superbike World Championship in Buriram. The defending champion injured his back last month and suffered throughout the opening weekend in Australia but after setting the sixth fastest time in Friday Practice at the Chang International Circuit, Guintoli expects be much more competitive here.
“We made some good improvements after the morning session so that was a positive this afternoon and the bike felt much better. We need to carry on working there but I’m enjoying the track and we’ve closed the gap. I’m trying hard now and feeling a lot better physically than I did in Australia. That’s the main thing from today, so that’s nice because I suffered a lot in Phillip Island. I can still feel the injury but it’s a lot better and I’m a lot more focused and more hungry here.”
Although the season is at an embryonic stage, Guintoli is mindful of the 25 point deficit to championship co-leaders Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea and acknowledges that he can’t take a cautious approach for too much longer.
“We can’t do damage limitation every race so we need to try to step it up a bit now. It was funny this afternoon because I was supposed to come in to try some different tyres but, as I was coming into pit lane I was thinking about the lines through sector three and missed my garage entry! I went straight out again and saw that the session was nearly finished, so there wasn’t much point coming in for new tyres. So, although I didn’t plan it, I ended up doing the whole session on one set of tyres. We’ll try the soft option tomorrow!”