WSBK

Pata Honda Excited To Return To WSBK Action This Weekend

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After an extended summer break of almost seven weeks, the 2015 World Superbike championship reignites this weekend (18-20 September) at Jerez in Spain with Pata Honda riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark eager to get back into action on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.

Guintoli went into the summer break in great form following round 10 of the series at Sepang in Malaysia. The 33-year-old French rider started the two races from the front row of the grid and followed up his impressive qualifying performance with two strong fourth place finishes, leaving him sixth in the overall points standings.

"It‰Ûªs a good job that riding the CBR is a bit like riding a bicycle ‰ÛÒ you don‰Ûªt forget how to do it!" Guintoli commented. "I feel like I‰Ûªve been on a long winter break since the last round in Sepang, not a summer break.

"I‰Ûªve been able to do a bit of motocross on my CRF450R but it‰Ûªs not the same and I‰Ûªve not been wanting to push too hard because it‰Ûªs quite easy to get injured! So I‰Ûªve been doing lots of other normal training, riding the push-bike and running.

"Jerez is a really nice track and I had a couple of good results there last season. My last visit there at the beginning of this year wasn‰Ûªt so good though because I got injured in a big crash, but I‰Ûªm looking forward to going back there with the team.

"The last round in Sepang was really positive with good results in qualifying and in the two races so I‰Ûªm looking forward to getting back into that rhythm again as soon as we can.

Van der Mark also performed well last time out and, although a recurring electrical issue halted his race one progress in Sepang, the 22-year-old SBK rookie from Rotterdam in the Netherlands was able to push hard to fifth place in race two and he lies seventh, just behind his team-mate, in the championship table.

"Of course, Jerez holds some very special memories for me because it‰Ûªs one year since I won the World Supersport title there on the CBR600RR." Van der Mark said. "It‰Ûªs been a mixed first year learning to ride the Superbike with some good results but also some technical issues which have made things difficult sometimes.

"The guys have had some time back at the workshop since Sepang and I know they‰Ûªve been working hard at eliminating the problem. It‰Ûªs been a long break for us all, but I‰Ûªve been training hard and riding some motocross.

"Now I‰Ûªm ready to get back on the CBR and I‰Ûªm really looking forward to riding again at Jerez. As Sylvain‰Ûªs results also showed, the bike worked very well at Sepang which has not been a great circuit for us before, so we are optimistic for this weekend.

A tighter and more technical circuit than Sepang, the 4.423km Jerez circuit in Andalucia in southern Spain was built in 1985 and has hosted World Superbike races since 2013. It will present its own individual challenges to the Pata Honda riders, particularly Guintoli who missed out on valuable testing time at Jerez in January after a heavy crash.

Both riders have been training hard and riding their Honda CRF450R motocross bikes during the summer months to remain as sharp as possible. Both are keen to stress, however, that nothing can replicate riding their CBR machines on track and Guintoli and van der Mark are excited at the prospect of getting back to action at Jerez on Friday morning.

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