Guintoli Close To Podium For Pata Yamaha
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team's Sylvain Guintoli finished his opening weekend in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship less than three seconds from the win with a fifth place finish in Sunday's race at Australia's Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Teammate Alex Lowes concluded a tough debut weekend to bring his YZF-R1 home in the points despite very challenging circumstances.
A solid start saw Guintoli circulating with consistent pace, holding seventh and maintaining contact behind the front group for the race's first half. His ability to preserve the tyre life on his YZF-R1 allowed the Frenchman to pick up the pace with eight laps to go, diving up the inside of Davide Giugliano and Tom Sykes to take fifth on the 15th lap. Holding firm on the rear wheel of Nicky Hayden for the ensuing laps he consolidated the position at the line, collecting a further eleven points to place him fifth in the standings after the opening round of the 2016 championship.
Due to a crash in morning warm up, Lowes was forced to use his spare YZF-R1 for the main event. A strong start placed the British rider in fourth place during the first lap. However, a small technical issue with the untested machine prevented him from realising the potential shown throughout the latter part of the weekend. Running wide at the approach to Lukey Heights, Lowes dropped back to 21st by the close of the first lap but immediately began his fight back. A professional performance saw him regain seven places by quarter distance but with the gap too great to dent further he concluded the weekend with a 14th place finish, collecting two championship points.
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will now evaluate the data and experience gained from its debut race weekend as it prepares for the second round, at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand in just two weeks' time.