Team Suzuki Alstare riders Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli go into this weekend’s 13th and final World Superbike round at Magny-Cours in France fired up and ready to end on the podium.
Haslam aims to make up for last weekend’s disappointment at Imola and would like nothing better to put one over on newly-crowned World Champion Max Biaggi.
Since Imola, Haslam has had a chance to rest his left knee and is sure to be in much better shape than last weekend when he had to have a series of pain-killing injections in order to race. Although his knee is a long way from perfect, the young Briton will be giving 100 per cent as usual and trying to sign off the season in style.
His team mate Sylvain Guintoli would also like to end with a flourish, having been close to the podium on several occasions, but not quite getting there. As it is also his ‘home’ race, the Frenchman would like to finish with a podium and give all his friends a family something to shout about.
“Obviously I am disappointed how things turned out last weekend, but that has gone now and I prefer to focus on Magny-Cours and beating Max. But for a small mistake, I am sure I could’ve won the first race and that would have put a bit more pressure on Max. He still would have had a good lead in the points going into Magny-Cours, but the gap would’ve been less and it would’ve been an interesting race day for sure.
“I had some good results last year at Magny-Cours on a bike that was not as good as my Suzuki this year, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be thinking about podiums this weekend. The circuit is not so technical, but there are lots of tight turns onto long straights and a lot of heavy braking.
“I’ve only had two rounds this year where I have missed out on a podium and that’s something I don’t want to repeat at Magny. At the moment, I lead Max by 14 podiums to 13 and my aim is to still be ahead of him on Sunday night.”
“I am excited about racing at Magny-Cours because it is my home race and obviously I would like to do well there. I know that a lot of family, friends and fans will be there, so I would like to get a podium or two. I feel I have very close to that elusive podium many times, so now it is up to me to make my mark and get onto those steps.
“This might be a home race, but I haven’t raced at Magny-Cours since 2000 and that was on a 250! The track had a slightly different layout then, so the first thing I will have to do is relearn the track. If I can do that quickly and get a decent grid position, then I have a good chance of some good results. Hopefully, I will also have recovered from whatever I had last weekend and be fully fit and raring to go right from the first practice on Friday.”
Race 1: 1 Ben Spies (USA-Yamaha), 2 Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati), 3 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 4 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati), 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda), 6 Carlos Checa (ESP-Honda). Sylvain Guintoli DNS.
Race 2: 1 Haga, 2 Biaggi, 3 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 4 Spies, 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-Honda), 6 Yukio Kagayama (JPN-Suzuki Alstare). Sylvain Guintoli DNS.