Sylvain Guintoli has challenged himself and his PATA Honda team to improve in an attempt to keep his World Superbike Championship hopes alive, starting at Motorland Aragon this weekend. The defending champion has struggled in the opening two rounds, admitting the Honda CBR1000RR has been underperforming so far, and has identified the areas the machine needs to be improved in.
“Aragon is about playing catch-up really, because it’s clear that we haven’t been fulfilling our potential in the first races of the season. My physical condition is still improving and I’m feeling better than I was in Thailand, so that’s all going in the right direction, but we need to improve our overall performance so that we can fight at the front. We’re all working hard to realize the potential of the package, especially in the areas of engine brake and power delivery. Testing conditions were not very good when we were at Aragon in January but the weather should be better this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back there on the CBR, though; it’s a good track and I’m happy they’ve taken out the hairpin at the end of the lap, which kind of broke the flow.”
Although he doesn’t have the results to show for it, Guintoli’s teammate Michael van der Mark has impressed in Australia and Thailand and the Dutch rookie hopes to add points to the undoubted potential.
I really like the track at Aragon because it has a great mix of fast-flowing corners and tighter, technical sections. I think it will improve with the faster left at the end of the straight instead of the hairpin. I certainly enjoyed riding it when we tested in January but the weather was really cold so we couldn’t achieve very much. I’m quite happy with my performances over my first few races in World Superbikes. Thailand was great but the first round in Australia was really good and I’m hoping for the same feeling this weekend in Aragon. We knew that my rookie season would be about learning new things and that it would have some ups and downs, but so far I think we are more or less in the place that we expected to be.”