Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Test Rider, Sylvain Guintoli, has been putting in the hours in recent months. The Frenchman filled in at the British GP for Joan Mir, having come fresh from testing and the Suzuka 8 Hours. He bagged himself a great result, and witnessed his team-mate snatch his second victory of the year. We sat down for a chat with him to speak about his Silverstone experience…
Sylvain, you’ve been riding a lot recently, and on a lot of different circuits. How did Silverstone compare? Did you notice the improvement in the track surface?
I really noticed the difference compared with the past! It felt fantastic all weekend. Silverstone did a great job after last year’s problems. It was really great to ride; it was really quick with a lot of grip. The corner speed felt unbelievable with our bike. It was such a pleasure to ride on the new surface, and in the sunshine! I live in the UK and I know how rare these hot and sunny weekends are!
Being a last-minute wildcard and replacing Joan at a technical and difficult track like Silverstone isn’t an easy task, but you showed strong pace and a put in a great performance, how would you describe Sunday?
It was a truly great day for us, and for all of Suzuki, both in Europe and Japan. And a good day for me as well because I was able to score some points. I felt good on the bike all weekend but I wasn’t really setting any expectations for myself, I just wanted to complete a good race. In the end I got a better result than I thought I would, and I’m really happy with the 12th place finish. Alex’s win was absolutely brilliant, I’m so happy I was there to celebrate with him and the team.
This is Suzuki. When we win, everyone just goes wild! We celebrate like a family and we’re all so happy for each other. It’s truly special. We are small but well organized, committed, focused, profesional...
Sunday saw the second win for Suzuki and Alex this season. You’ve been doing a really great job with the bike development in the last two years, with a lot of laps and a lot of testing of parts. How do these results make you feel?
There’s a lot of effort put in from Suzuki, from the test team, and from myself too. We’re always pushing to try and find new ideas and improve the performance. It’s so nice to see that the work we’ve put in is helping the MotoGP team, it really feels great. Alex did a superb race and he’s a great rider, it’s so good to see everyone’s efforts paying off and him enjoying the top step.
What is the plan now? Will you finally have a break?
This summer has been crazy busy with testing and racing, I’ve spent a lot of time on the bike and it’s been really good. Now I’ll have a little bit of rest and time with my family before testing in Motegi, and then also I will have another wildcard ride in Motegi, so I’m really looking forward to racing again!
There’s a lot of effort put in from Suzuki. It’s so nice to see that the work we’ve put in is helping the MotoGP team, it really feels great. It's so good to see everyone's efforts paying off
You weren’t in Austin when Alex took his first ever win, how was it to be actually at the circuit and competing when Alex took his second victory?
It was so great, I was so happy! On the ‘cool down’ lap after the race I could see on the big screen that Alex had won and I couldn’t believe it! Usually when you finish a race you go to the box and start the debrief with your crew, but we all just went straight to parc ferme and the podium. There I celebrated with all the team as we watched Alex and Davide go onto the podium to collect the trophies. We were all so emotional, you could see it in the images I think. And that’s because a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and we’re a small MotoGP team. We are full factory; we’re also very well organised, committed, focused, everyone has great work ethics, and everyone takes their job very seriously. But on the other hand, when we win, everyone just goes wild! We celebrate like a family and we’re all so happy for each other. It’s truly special.