Team Suzuki Press Office – September 30.
Bennetts Suzuki’s Sylvain Guintoli will start on the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s opening race at Assen, after qualifying with the eighth fastest time at round 11 of the MCE British Superbike Championship.
Guintoli had been consistently-fast all weekend, but with the rain coming in for qualifying, the former World Superbike Champion was still able to progress through Q1 and Q2 to the final session, where he managed the eighth-fastest time in tricky conditions.
“It’s been going well this weekend. We’ve been quick in all sessions so far in the dry, and in the wetter conditions – where we’ve struggled before – the bike has been working better and we have improved things. It looks drier for tomorrow, so if we can get away well we can hopefully fight at the front and improve on the fourth place we achieved at Silverstone.”
Richard Cooper, making a wildcard appearance in the Superbike class this weekend, had also been fast in practice, posting the sixth fastest time in this morning’s FP3, as the team made progress with his setup every time he took to the track.
He progressed from Q1 but crashed in the closing stages of the session. He was able to take to the track for Q2, but unfortunately crashed again. He remounted to set the 14th fastest time of the session, but was disqualified for not returning to the pits and will start 18th.
Taylor Mackenzie had spent much of practice getting comfortable on his GSX-R1000, as he looked to continue his recovery from a broken foot. Unfortunately, he also crashed in the difficult conditions, taking a nasty blow to the head, and has been declared unfit for tomorrow’s two races.
“It feels good to be on the Superbike. We worked through a few issues during practice, as we expected to have to do. But it’s gone well. The crash in Q1 came right at the end of the session, but the boys worked hard to get me back out there. I then crashed on the second lap of Q2. I remounted but I didn’t return to the pits, so even though I was 14th, the times didn’t count and we’ll start 18th. It’ll be hard from there, but I’m feeling confident. We know the pace is there, hopefully it’ll be dry, and I think we can have two good races.”
“I’m pretty sore to be honest. As I landed I popped my visor off and the handlebar and brake guard just hit me in the face, right between the eyes. I’ve also done some muscle damage to my shoulder. That, on top of my foot, which has been pretty sore all weekend, too, is just too much. It’s a shame because I came in after FP3 feeling really confident, especially as I was still struggling with the foot. Hopefully I can be back for Brands.”
Qualifying result: 1. James Ellison, 2. Leon Haslam, Christian Iddon, 8. Sylvain Guintoli (Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000), 18. Richard Cooper (Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000), 22. Taylor Mackenzie (Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R1000).