Sylvain Guintoli was back on the pace as the second day of action got underway for the second round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
The former World Superbike Champion languished down in 20th place following yesterday’s official test after experiencing a number of issues with the Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R as the squad looked to test their factory Yoshimura swing arm back-to-back with a modified standard arm.
However, a marked step forward saw Guintoli jump back up the timesheets as practice got underway on Saturday. Finishing the opening session in fifth, the Frenchman was just 0.4 sec off the pace in FP1 and while he improved his time in the afternoon’s section session, he wasn’t totally happy with the direction taken.
“Yesterday was difficult, we were trying a lot of things and as you can see from the position it wasn’t the best day!” he told MCN. “Today as been much better, I was happy this morning and then this afternoon we tried a few different things with the geometry and it didn’t quite work but it’s given us a good direction for tomorrow.
“We experimented quite a bit with the chassis today so we’re going to do a longer run tomorrow to try and understand which tyre we can use in the race. The bike is behaving well with both tyres though, but it’s very, very close! Really competitive and tight. If you look at the gaps it’s ridiculous. I’m not 100% comfortable yet, there’s a bit more to come so that’s nice to know.
“Obviously we’re racing so we want to do well and be at the front, but for us it’s really important to understand the bike well and still explore its potential because there’s so much to do with a brand new bike.”
After testing the standard swing arm at Mallory Park on Wednesday and finding he prefers it to the underslung Yoshimura-spec arm, Guintoli will continue racing with the standard option this weekend.
“We’re still experimenting with the rear of the bike,” Guintoli explained. “It’s important to match the character of the rear of the bike with the tyres so we’re trying to find the best compromise for now and the best direction for the future.
“It’s always better to run a full factory, underslung arm as theoretically that’s an advantage but for now the road swingarm is working better. That means on one hand the standard arm is pretty damn good, on the other it means we still have some work to do on the special parts to make them work with the Pirelli tyres.”
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