Sylvain Guintoli has had a tough season this year. Forced to switch to the British Superbike series at the end of last season once his tenure with the Pramac Ducati team was at an end, he made a fantastic debut, winning his first two races aboard a Superbike, following that up with a double podium. It all went wrong for him after that, horribly fracturing his leg in a warm-up-lap pile-up caused by Australian Josh Brookes.
His early performance aboard the Crescent Suzuki and the form he showed once he returned to racing at the end of August so impressed Suzuki that he has been rewarded with a ride in World Superbikes next season. The Frenchman is to join the Alstare Suzuki team, racing alongside young Briton Leon Haslam, who has been impressive aboard the Stiggy Honda. In fact, Guintoli is to join the team early, as due to the absence of Max Neukirchner due to continuing problems with cracked vertebrae, the Frenchman has been drafted in to race in the final round of World Superbikes at Portimao this weekend.
Guintoli would have been at the Portuguese track anyway as the World Superbike paddock is due to start its first test of the 2010 season on Monday. Guintoli was due to start testing the Alstare Suzuki GSX-R 1000 after the race was over. Using the three days of the race weekend before the test starts gives Guintoli a little bit of extra testing time to prepare for next season.