Sylvain Guintoli

Michelin's Piero Taramasso Explains How The New Rear Michelin Tire Helps The Riders Go Faster

One of the big talking points from last week's Sepang MotoGP test was the performance of the new Michelin rear tire. The new construction tire, first tested at the Barcelona test in June 2019, met with widespread praise. The new rear had more grip, both on the edge of the tire, and in the traction area, the slightly fatter part of the tire which riders use just as they pick up the bike on exit.

The new tire was popular with everyone, although some riders believed it benefited the bikes which use a lot of corner speed, like Yamaha and Suzuki, more than the point-and-squirt bikes like the Honda and Ducati. Riders who carried a lot of corner speed could immediately use the additional edge grip. Riders who needed to pick up the bike and drive out of corners felt they needed more time to understand how to get the most out of the tire.

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The Yamaha riders were overwhelmingly positive about the new rear Michelin. "Since the first lap I did on those tires in Montmelo last year, I felt really good," Maverick Viñales said. "Also for the way I pick up the bike, it's quite good."

Monster Energy Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi agreed, but pointed out that the new Michelins benefited everybody. "The tires from Michelin are better," the Italian said. "This is good but unfortunately the tire from Michelin are for everybody. So we make the step but also the other guys."

Franco Morbidelli described the tire as filling in the holes where the Yamaha lacked drive and grip in 2019. "The new tire gives more grip and it fills our emptiness with grip that we had last year, so that's positive for us. This tire performs better so edge grip and drive grip."

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Sylvain Guintoli Punished For Using 2020 Engine Spec At Motegi

Sylvain Guintoli has been disqualified for the FP1 and FP2 sessions of the Motegi MotoGP round, after having been found to have used an illegal spec of engine. As a result, all of his times set in FP1 and FP2 have been scrapped, and Guintoli listed as having set no time.

The punishment came after Sylvain Guintoli used a prototype of the 2020 Suzuki GSX-RR during his third wildcard appearance. That is in contravention of the rules, specifically rule 2.4.6.2, which states that wildcards must abide by the engine specification rules which apply to all manufacturers. In the case of Suzuki, who are not a concessions team, and so are not allowed to change engine specifications during the season, this means that Guintoli is bound to use the same specification of engine for the whole 2019 season.

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Subscriber Feature: The Importance Of Test Riders, Part 2: Davide Brivio On Japanese Test Riders vs European Ex-Racers

As the MotoGP field gets closer, the value of a good test rider goes up. The closer a rider can get to the limits of the bike, the more data they generate, and the more the factories learn. That means there is a premium now on genuinely fast riders, as the data gathered when a rider is within a few tenths of the MotoGP elite is exponentially more valuable than the data obtained by riders who are a second off the pace.

As a result, top racers who have missed the boat for one reason or another are in high demand among MotoGP's factories. In the second part of our series on the importance of test riders, we take a look at Suzuki. (You can read the first part, with KTM's Mike Leitner, here). I spoke to Suzuki Ecstar team boss Davide Brivio at the Jerez test last November, to ask about the importance of Sylvain Guintoli, the former MotoGP, WorldSBK, and BSB racer who Suzuki have been using to help push forward the development of the GSX-RR over the past year or so. With some success: so far, Suzuki have three podiums from four races, and are clearly competitive with Yamaha, Honda, and Ducati.

Given that a test rider needs to be able to clearly describe what they are feeling on the bike, as well as be fast enough to feel something useful, I started off asking Brivio what he more, a fast rider or an intelligent rider. "I would say it should be a good compromise, but probably an intelligent test rider is important as well. Let's say fast enough!" Brivio laughed. "It's always difficult to say whether a test rider can be 1 second slower or three seconds slower. But for me, we think it's very important that he understands whether something is better or not and he can describe properly why it's better or why it's worse. Then of course everything has to be confirmed by the factory riders. But it's very important that he's intelligent and also expert enough about what he is testing, he has enough experience with the electronics, with the tires, with the chassis."

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2018 Week 1 News Round Up: Rossi's Ranch, Retiring Youngsters, And Preparing For Sepang

Though the world of motorcycle racing slowed to a crawl over the holiday season, that does not mean that nothing happened whatsoever. Racing news trickled out from around the globe, as riders, teams, and factories made decisions, and racing collided with the real world. So here's a round up of some of the news stories you may have missed while we were away over the past couple of weeks.

Rossi's Ranch wins in the courts

The year started off with good news for Valentino Rossi. Ever since it was built, some local residents have complained about the noise and nuisance caused by Rossi's dirt track ranch, situated just east of his home village of Tavullia. A group of locals lodged formal complaints against the ranch with the Tavullia council, alleging several violations of local rules, such as missing documents including an environmental impact assessment, as well as complaints about excess noise and noise outside of normal operating hours.

Those complaints were dealt with by a regional court earlier this week, the Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) of the Marche region, where Tavullia is located. The court rejected the complaints, dismissing a part as having no grounds to proceed, a part as being inadmissible, and rejecting the remainder.

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Sylvain Guintoli, Ant West To Race In Jerez

The WorldSBK grid at Jerez will be full of replacement riders, as injury takes its toll, not just on the regular riders, but also on possible replacements. Sylvain Guintoli is to step in and replace the still injured and departing Randy Krummenacher in the Kawasaki Puccetti team for the rest of the season, the Swiss rider having previously fractured his wrist. Guintoli will ride for the Puccetti team in both the remaining rounds this year, at Jerez and at Qatar.

The replacement ride is also something of an audition. Guintoli and Puccetti are believed to still be negotiating over a possibility the Frenchman could ride for them in 2018 in WorldSBK.

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In Conversation With Sylvain Guintoli: On MotoGP, And Comparing Suzuki's GSX-RR and GSX-R1000

Being a replacement rider is never easy. Being asked to replace a factory MotoGP rider is always an honor, and one which nobody wants to turn down, but it also means being thrown in at the deep end, with a new bike, new tires, and sometimes even new tracks to learn with little or no testing.

Bearing all that in mind, experience can make the world of difference. So when Suzuki were forced to replace Alex Rins, after he broke his left arm in Austin, they turned to one of the most experienced riders around. Sylvain Guintoli spent five seasons in 250s and two full seasons in MotoGP, before heading off to World Superbikes, where he won the title in 2014. He is currently racing the brand new Suzuki GSX-R1000 for Bennetts Suzuki in the BSB championship.

In Barcelona, I found myself alone at Guintoli's debrief, and had a chance to spend fifteen minutes talking to the Frenchman. We had a wide-ranging conversation, covering topics as diverse as the changes to the bikes and tires since 2008, the character of the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike, and how it compares to Suzuki's production GSX-R1000.

Q: What’s it been like having to come back into the paddock and obviously totally different tires from when you were racing?

Sylvain Guintoli: It’s been a blast so far, to be honest. It’s been honestly a great opportunity, a great experience to back riding the GP race. The Suzuki is a beautiful bike to ride. But it’s also been challenging. Like you said, the tires obviously, the last time I rode Michelins was 2002.

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Suzuki Boss Davide Brivio on Iannone, Bike Development, Satellite Teams, And The Return Of Rins

It is not often that journalists get to speak to team managers at length, but test days provide the perfect opportunity to do just that. So it was that a small group of journalists attending the tests sat down with Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio to discuss progress so far.

There was a lot to talk about. There have been rumors that Andrea Iannone is not fitting in well with the ECSTAR Suzuki team, and is currently engaged in talks with Aprilia about moving there for the 2018 season. Some of Iannone's issues are down to his problem adapting to the bike, and trying to fix his feeling with the front end.

Brivio spoke to us about Iannone's situation, and the development of the GSX-RR. He also talked about the benefits of a satellite team, what Suzuki is doing to improve the spec electronics package, the test program at Barcelona, and the return of Alex Rins for the test. It was a long discussion, but there was plenty to go over.

Question: How did you hear these rumors about Andrea talking with Aprilia and some people say that there is no very good climate in the garage? How is your reaction on this?

Davide Brivio: I heard through journalists and I read on a website. Of course, I heard this, but the situation is very simple and very clear. We have two years’ agreement with Andrea Iannone and I don’t think the atmosphere is strange at all. Of course, we are having a difficult moment, a difficult time because we don’t get results. We just keep working and try to follow Andrea, he has some, let’s say, requests. He has some problem riding this bike, which is not only Andrea, also Sylvain Guintoli in these races. He felt some problems, which is we should improve the rear grip. This looks like the same for everybody probably. It’s quite a common problem.

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Sylvain Guintoli To Replace Alex Rins At Le Mans And Beyond

Sylvain Guintoli is to replace Alex Rins at Suzuki from the next race at Le Mans onwards, until Rins is fit to return. To help him prepare for his return to MotoGP, Guintoli will test the Suzuki GSX-RR on Monday, at the official test.

Choosing the Frenchman to replace Rins at Le Mans is an obvious choice. Guintoli has previous experience in MotoGP, having ridden a Yamaha and Ducati in 2007 and 2008. Guintoli even led the MotoGP race at at wet Le Mans back in 2007, before crashing out in front of his home crowd. He is currently racing in BSB for Bennetts Suzuki, and with BSB on a hiatus until mid June, Guintoli will also be available for Mugello.

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The Top Ten WorldSBK Riders Of 2016

Top ten lists are by their very nature subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. From the moment the season started in Australia until the very end there was a great scrap for the title, with the fight going down to the wire in Qatar. But who was the best rider of 2016? This is the MotoMatters.com top ten riders of the 2016 WorldSBK season.

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World Superbike Silly Season Update: Melandri's Back, Bradl Switches, Aprilia Arrives

While the MotoGP grid is as good as settled, Silly Season for World Superbikes is in full swing. With the Kawasaki riders' contracts settled before the summer break, attention has turned to the other seats, most of which are up in the air. In addition, there could be some changes in machinery, with some teams eyeing a switch of manufacturers.

The biggest news – still unofficial, but widely believed to be a done deal – is that Marco Melandri is set to make a return to the World Superbike paddock, this time in the factory Aruba.it Ducati team alongside Chaz Davies.

Melandri has been angling for a ride ever since his departure from the factory Aprilia MotoGP squad, a move he had never wanted to make in the first place. Over the past twelve months or so, he has been linked to rides with Yamaha, Aprilia, BMW and Kawasaki in World Superbikes, and – possibly the most bizarrely inaccurate rumor to be published in a while – to a ride with BMW in MotoGP. (The fact that BMW have no intention of racing in MotoGP, and the break up with Melandri in 2013 so acrimonious that they would not have him back anyway is what made that particular rumor so entertaining.)

Melandri's return to the fold

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