Sylvain Guintoli’s career in pictures
The Frenchman has graduated from being the youngest French scooter champion to the official test rider for the Gauloises Yamaha 500 Grand Prix team all the way through to the dizzy heights of two years as a full-time MotoGP rider.
MCN caught up with Guintoli and his family at his home in Leicestershire to find out what makes the man tick and what he loves about the UK.
Read the full feature in next week’s MCN, out on November 19.
But for now, here is the year-by-year career of BSB’s latest character.
Sylvain debuts in the French scooter championship at the age of 12 and takes a podium in his first appearance.
He goes on to compete in the France Speed scooter championship and wins it in his debut season. Not only does he become a rookie champion, he becomes the youngest champion ever in the France Speed championship.
Guintloi gets a ride with the National scooter team in the France Speed Championship but fails to defend his title when he breaks his collarbone and misses three races. He still ends the year third in the title though.
He then goes on to race in one of the weirdest, yet wonderful, championships: the single-manufacture French 125 Junior Cup using CG125 four-stroke Hondas. Sylvain finishes second in the championship after missing more races due to a broken knee from a crash riding on the road. When prompted about the series he said: “They were awesome little naked bikes. That was probably the coolest race series – it was so slow!”
Sylvain’s relationship with two-stroke Aprilia’s begins in ’98 when he rides in the one-make Aprilia 125 Cup in France.
He then steps up to the French 125GP championship again on an Aprilia and finishes third overall.
Results in ’99 were good enough to upgrade him to the Team France 250 team and wins the French Championship and also finishes third in the European 250cc Championship.
Then comes Guintoli's big break and a ride in 250 Grand Prix. He ends the season 14th overall and takes an incredible fourth place finish at Assen on an low-spec Aprilia.
Guintoli made the shock decision in 2002 to take a year out of competing and becomes the official test rider for Yamaha Tech 3. Sylvain says: “This was the most interesting bike I’ve ridden. The traction control was so basic you had to do it all by hand. But the power delivery was such an impact it was hard to ride. We were doing nearly 200mph on the 500’s and then having to get the bike stopped for a corner without any engine braking – I loved it!”
But the following year Guintoli comes back to the Grand Prix 250 paddock with Team Campetella, again on an Aprilia. Just like in 2001, the Frenchman’s best finish comes at Assen and he steps on his first Grand Prix podium.
Sylvain completes his second season with Campetella but only manages 14th in the championship due to eight DNF’s out of 16 races. His best finish comes at Catalunuya.
Guintoli joined French squad Equipe GP de France for 2005 and finishes 10th overall - the top privateer against the factory machines. Two eighth places in Estoril and Catalunya are his best results, but more importantly he finishes all but two races all year.
Sylvain sticks with the French team and goes one better with ninth in the championship. Two sixth place finishes on the trot, one at Qatar and then the following GP of Istanbul, capture the eye of his former employees, Tech 3 Yamaha.
The biggest move of Guintoli’s career came in 2007 with a switch to MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha running Dunlop tyres. He wins rookie of the season in MotoGP and the highlights of his championship come at his home GP when he lead at Le Mans and finished fourth in the flag-to-flag race of Motegi!
For a second year in a row Guintoli competes in MotoGP with the Alice Ducati team alongside Toni Elias. Sixth at the Sachsenring is his best result.