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2014 World Superbike Champion and former MotoGP™ rider Sylvain Guintoli is set to make a return to the GP paddock in the French Grand Prix, replacing injured Alex Rins in the team until the Spaniard has recovered to return to competition. Guintoli will also take part in a test day at Jerez on Tuesday to familiarise himself with the bike and team as he takes over from Takuya Tsuda, who is replacing Rins in the Spanish GP and subsequent test on Monday.
Currently racing in the British Superbike Championship with Bennetts Suzuki, Guintoli last raced full time in the premier class of Grand Prix racing in 2008 before moving to WorldSBK, with one further appeareance in 2011 at Sachsenring in MotoGP™. The Frenchman was crowned 2014 WorldSBK Champion after taking 5 wins and 16 podiums that season, and moved to BSB for 2017.
Sylvain Guintoli: "First, I would like to thank Suzuki for giving me this fantastic opportunity. Being able to ride the GSX-RR, currently one of the fastest racing machine in the world is a very exciting prospect, let alone at my home race in front of the French fans. The ‘Le Mans Grand Prix’ brings back a lot of strong memories, the best one of course was leading the MotoGP race for a few laps in 2007. This is going to be a very difficult challenge, adapting to the very powerful prototype MotoGP machine and the Michelin tires, but my main goal is to enjoy the experience and give 100% commitment to the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. The test on Tuesday will give us some time to adapt and to start understanding this amazing motorcycle. Finally, I want to wish a very good recovery to Alex."
Davide Brivio, Team Manager: “For us it’s a good opportunity to be able to substitute Alex with Sylvain, who is a rider with strong and solid experience in racing, both in Superbike and MotoGP. He is a former World Champion in Superbike and he is already racing for Suzuki in the British Superbike Championship, so he is already part of the Suzuki family. With him we will try to carry on with the development of our GSX-RR, trying to improve it more and more. Also, during the races, hopefully we will be able to prepare an even more competitive package for Alex when he returns to us. Of course we hope this will happen very soon, that he is at 100%. In the meantime, we’ll try to fully take advantage of these races. I want to give a warm welcome to Sylvain from our team, and all we ask from him is to enjoy his time with us and make the most of this opportunity. We are also happy to give this small token of affection to our French fans, who will have another Frenchman racing the MotoGP in their home GP.”
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