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Fifth for Guintoli and Podium for Tuuli as WorldSBK Bids Farewell to Europe

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Sylvain Guintoli concluded the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s final race at the Circuito de Jerez in fifth position this afternoon with a confident ride on his YZF-R1. Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK teammate Alex Lowes also showed fighting form to take seventh.

A strong start from Guintoli instantly saw the Frenchman jump two positions off the lights before quickly securing another as the opening lap got underway. Crossing the line in sixth, narrowly behind his teammate, he ran with consistent pace as he maintained position before making his move on lap 10 to enter the top five. Improving his stride as the race progressed, Guintoli came close to bridging the gap to the riders in front, consolidating his fifth position at the flag to collect 11 points and bringing his championship total to just four behind his fellow Pata Yamaha challenger.

Launching from the line as the weekend’s second race began, Lowes immediately found himself in sixth position and fighting hard with Giugliano for fifth. Making the move on the Italian just two corners in, the British rider held strongly in the top five for the opening laps before a small technical issue began to affect his performance. As the afternoon’s rising temperatures peaked at 37°C, Lowes managed the situation with his YZF-R1 to the best of his ability but was unable to match his previous pace, his teammate taking advantage at mid-race distance. Continuing the fight as the race developed, Lowes unfortunately lost out again as van der Mark made a late charge, crossing the line in a solid seventh.

Niki Tulli began his FIM Supersport World Championship battle by immediately aiming for the leading pair as the lights went out, running closely behind in third from the first corner. Quickly taking second on his YZF-R6 from the championship leader on lap two he was promoted to the front at the start of lap three as Krummenacher fell at turn one. Scuffles for position ensued, with the young Finn maintaining his hold for the majority of the race before Sofuoglu took charge on lap 14. Holding off the competition from behind, Tuuli claimed his third podium in as many races with a consecutive second position, alongside the fastest lap of race – a 1’44.355 on his third revolution.

Guintoli and Lowes will remain in Jerez for tomorrow’s official championship test before the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team prepares to travel to Qatar’s Losail International Circuit for the concluding races of 2016, in two weeks’ time.

Sylvain Guintoli
Race: 5th / +10.762 / 20 laps. Championship: 12th / 112 points

“It was an interesting day as we tried a completely different setting this morning – that didn’t go well but at least we knew what not to do! We went the other way for race two which was an improvement from yesterday and allowed us to start a bit faster. The pace in the second half was also very good, catching up with the front group. Unfortunately at the end I ran out of front grip as I was pushing very hard and nearly crashed many times. Overall it has been positive as we finished closer than we have recently, the pace was good and more than everything I have enjoyed myself riding the YZF-R1 today. I felt really on the limit with the machine and to find that rhythm again is really important for me, so a good day for us!”

Alex Lowes
Race: 7th / +16.413 / 20 laps. Championship: 11th / 116 points

“I’m quite disappointed overall with the race because I think the YZF-R1 had really good pace, especially when the temperatures came up. I think we had a good chance, not necessarily at the podium, but a chance to be a lot closer to the fight. I felt quite good and got a decent start, it’s always how it falls on the first couple of corners, but the first three or four laps I felt quite good and then I had a small problem that was preventing me from shifting correctly. I lost my concentration for a bit and was struggling to shift, but rather than retire the bike I chose to ride as well as I could in the situation. The team have worked well all weekend, it was a shame about my mistake yesterday in the first race, and like I said I think the R1 had really good pace and was probably the most competitive it has been all year, so even though we have a seventh place I still feel really disappointed overall.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal

“A positive race for the team and for the YZF-R1 here in Jerez today and yet it could have been even better. Sylvain is now back to full fitness and it is starting to show in his confidence and in his consistency over race distance. Despite starting ninth on the grid he forced his way forwards and rode an impressive and accurate race, finishing only four seconds off the podium and closer on lap 20 to second place than we were at the end of lap five. This is a positive indication that the overall performance is going in the right direction.

“For Alex the race was also very solid on paper, with a strong performance shown in the opening laps, but unfortunately he was held back from the third lap with a small technical issue. Alex’s execution over race distance showed great commitment, which, as ever, we thank him for but we know given the circumstances it could have been a lot better.

“The 2017 season begins tomorrow with a full day’s test and today’s potential is a good base to start from.”