Guintoli taming a different WSB animal

Published: 06 December 2014

New WSB champion Sylvain Guintoli has taken the number one plate he earned with Aprilia over to Honda with him and as he undertook his first test on the CBR1000RR he realised straight away he was on a different design of machine. “It is very, very different,” confirmed Guintoli. “I spent two years modifying my style and understanding how to go fast in a certain way and now everything is different. So now… I am not trying to forget things but I am modifying to suit the bike. It is good fun and we are getting there step-by-step.”

The compact and race-designed vee four Aprilia starts off its roadbike life as a much more expensive showroom model than the more rounded inline four Honda Fireblade. But it is the engine configuration difference between his 2014 and 2015 bikes that struck Guintoli most.

“The character of the engine is quite different and because of that the bike needs to be ridden differently. Thinking back to last year when I was racing with Johnny, even at Qatar I would be coming back on him, thinking, “What did you do that for?” Now I understand the wide lines and so on. It (the bike) accepts a different approach.”

Guintoli, who now has experience of his Honda in almost all track conditions, also said of his new bike, “Obviously the engine brake is very different and the way you set it is very different. It is a different system. Before pushing I want to understanding it really well, get some feel, try some tyres, do long runs. On Wednesday we did about 30 laps on the tyres – about a race and a half – to understand how it uses them. When it becomes weak and if it is stronger when the tyres are new. We have to do that background work in the wet as well because wet races give you the same points as in the dry. The bike has very good mechanical grip in the wet.”