After a two-week break, the Pata Honda team and its riders Michael van der Mark and Sylvain Guintoli are preparing for this weekend‰Ûªs (31 July ‰ÛÒ 2 August) tenth round of the 2015 World Superbike championship at Sepang in Malaysia.
Guintoli left the last round at Laguna Seca in the USA ruing a missed opportunity in race two following a collision with another rider that ruled him out of contention after posting seventh place in the first outing.
The French rider, 33, currently sits in sixth place in the overall points standings as he continues to work hard with his team to improve the performance of his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machine.
"Malaysia is a great event in the calendar with a very fast layout in Sepang and very challenging conditions during the race weekend with heat and humidity. We will continue to work on different fronts to improve our results." Guintoli said.
After two top-eight finishes in California, Pata Honda team-mate Michael van der Mark has been riding a different specification CBR during the break between Laguna Seca and Japan, competing in the Suzuka 8 Hours race in Japan alongside Casey Stoner and Takumi Takahashi.
The 22-year-old WSBK rookie‰Ûªs dreams of a third consecutive victory in the prestigious endurance race were ended, however, when Stoner crashed early in the race. Van der Mark will be looking to bounce back in Sepang where he won last year‰Ûªs World Supersport race on his way to 2014 world championship glory.
Compared to the last two years, the Suzuka experience was really disappointing this year." Van der Mark commented. "I‰Ûªve never felt so bad after a race, so I‰Ûªm looking forward to meeting up with the team again and to riding my WSBK-specification CBR.
"I‰Ûªm not under any illusions because I know how tough the circuit is; it‰Ûªll be hard work but I really enjoy riding there, even though it can get quite hot. I had a really good battle in the heat last season with Jules Cluzel in Supersport which will bring back some happy memories for me.
"We‰Ûªll work as hard as we can from Friday morning to get the best out of the CBR and see where we are when Sunday comes."
Sepang first opened its doors in 1998, to audible gasps from motorsport fans the world over. Built over a period of 14 months, it boasts outstanding facilities and spectacular viewing. The 5.548km circuit can accommodate up to 130,000 raceday spectators in its stunning grandstands and features five left-handers and ten rights, with its main start-finish straight just short of 1km in length.