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Strong Return Sees Guintoli in German Top Six

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Sylvain Guintoli returned to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with a strong performance aboard his YZF-R1 across Friday’s free practices, concluding the opening day at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz sixth in the combined times. His Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK teammate Alex Lowes also shone in the German round’s opening session, claiming second after the first hour, before finishing eighth at the close of play to ensure both riders are through to Saturday’s second Superpole qualifier.

Thoroughly enjoying being back on his Yamaha Superbike after a five-month intermission due to injury, Guintoli initially began his comeback session with caution. Familiarising himself with the 2016 calendar’s new circuit while he reacquainted with his race bike, the Frenchman was comfortably inside the top ten after Friday’s morning practice. Continuing to impress as the times improved, the 34-year-old dropped six-tenths in the mid-afternoon session, sitting second in the closing minutes to conclude the day sixth overall with a 1’37.753.

Proving his recent demanding schedule has done nothing but lift his performance levels, Lowes immediately got up-to-speed at the Brandenburg circuit. Topping the times at the morning’s mid-point with a 1’37.872 he circulated with consistent pace for the remainder of the session to sit second after the first hour. Returning to the track as the afternoon heat peaked at 26°C, the Briton quickly improved again, setting a 1’37.805 on his fourth revolution to retain position before a mistake at turn-six called time early. However, with the fastest 12 riders all within a second, Lowes’ efforts remained enough to keep him firmly inside the top-ten and confident there is more to come tomorrow.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team return to the Lausitzring for the final free practice session at 08:45 local time ahead of Saturday’s Superpole 2 at 10:55 and the opening race of the German WorldSBK weekend at 13:00.

Sylvain Guintoli
6th / 1’37.753 / 44 laps

“I’ve really enjoyed getting back on the YZF-R1 today. Five months is a long time to wait between racing and I’ve really missed it. It’s been a positive, solid, first day, my feeling was good on the bike and I’m learning the track quickly – and to be straight into Superpole 2 on my return is great! The test here helped us with track knowledge but it was more of a shakedown for me as my first time back on the race bike. However, today I really pushed myself with the lap-times and everything is working well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend, but we will just have to see what the weather does tomorrow.”

Alex Lowes
8th / 1’37.805 / 33 laps

“I really enjoyed being back on the Superbike today but I’m really disappointed with the second session. I made a small mistake, tucked the front, and because we can’t use the spare bike I ended up losing most of the session. I showed some really good speed, good pace and have a good feeling with the bike so I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend. If it’s dry I think I have a very strong pace but we will have to see what happens with tomorrow’s weather. I’ve enjoyed being back with the guys and I’m looking forward to the race – to lose 85% of the second session and still be in the top ten shows the pace we have so I’m happy enough.”