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Guintoli takes a break before sophomore season

Guintoli takes a break before sophomore season

Whilst some riders will be enjoying a welcome respite from air travel as they stay in their respective countries during the winter break, Sylvain Guintoli has already given in to wanderlust and taken a short trip away over the past two weeks.

Whilst some riders will be enjoying a welcome respite from air travel as they stay in their respective countries during the winter break, Sylvain Guintoli has already given in to wanderlust and taken a short trip away over the past two weeks.

The French rider, who switches to the Ducati satellite team for his second season in the MotoGP World Championship, has spent the last fortnight in the Maldives with wife Caroline after a busy rookie season in the premier class. Although he won't be straying abroad before the end of the year, spending Christmas in his British home, Guintoli will be checking in once again for four tests before the start of the 2008 season.

Whilst visits to Sepang, Phillip Island, Jerez and Qatar await, the 2007 Rookie of the Year has already had a run with his new team at Valencia, which gave him a positive first impression of the new challenge ahead.

"At the Valencia test, I got to know the bike and the team; it was just an introduction really so I could get an idea of how the team will work next year and get a first impression of the bike," he explained.

"We still have a lot of things to go through, like defining our work approach or even which language we'll use most of the time but, for a first test, it was important to get some laps under the belt to get an idea of how the bike and the tyres perform."

Guintoli has yet to try the latest Ducati development, with only Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri debuting the Desmosedici GP8 for the factory team at Jerez last month. However, the Frenchman has paid full attention to the 2007 World Champion's initial assessment of the bike.

"We'll only get into the serious work when testing resumes at Sepang, as we'll have the new bike. According to Casey's first impressions (as I read on motogp.com), the new Desmosedici is pretty close to the 2007 machine, so I guess it's positive as I had a good feeling with the GP7 at Valencia," beamed Guintoli.

"Riding a Ducati with Bridgestone tyres is a great opportunity, as Casey proved that this year it was the best package. However, we know that things can change quickly from a season to another, however the potential of the Ducati was so strong this year, especially engine-wise, that I'm sure it will very strong again next year."

Two moments define the Frenchman's rookie season; leading his home race at Le Mans, and his fantastic fourth place in Japan after a battle with future team-mate, Toni Elias. Reflecting on 2007, Guintoli was full of pride.

"With each season, you always learn new stuff and you're constantly progressing. My first season in MotoGP with Tech 3 and Dunlop went really well and I had some great races, so next year I just want get more great results. With the experience I gained this year, I can refine my approach," he explained. "Of course next year I'll have to deal with many changes but I have to do everything I could so I can head into the new season serenely.

"For now, I can't really think of a proper objective for next year; there are too many elements to take into account but you always have to aim as high as possible. First I'll have to beat my team-mate I guess!" noted Guintoli on the dynamic in the all-new d'Antin Ducati garage.

"Toni is a really nice guy and a good rider. He's been in MotoGP for a few years now but he's young - he's one year younger than me! I think we'll get along pretty well and we'll be pushing each other hard, it should be a pretty healthy rivalry. I hope I can beat him and keep progressing so I can get the best possible results

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, Sylvain Guintoli

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