Sylvain Guintoli took fifth and sixth place finishes at the two second-round World Superbike championship races at Buriram in Thailand after a dramatic day for the Pata Honda team.
The 32-year-old French rider had a lonely ride to his second successive fifth place after making a number of changes to his Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP after this morning‰Ûªs warm-up.
However, a technical issue on the sighting lap for race two at the 4.554km Chang International Circuit forced Guintoli to miss the formation lap and he had to start the race from the back of the grid. After a good start he was able to move through the field, eventually enjoying a thrilling battle with his team-mate Michael van der Mark.
Van der Mark, 22, had his own technical issues which forced his retirement from the first of today‰Ûªs two 20-lap outings, but the Dutch rider enjoyed more success in race two.
The battle between him and Guintoli for sixth place came down to the final corner with van der Mark attempting a bold manoeuvre around the outside of his team-mate, which forced him outside the track boundaries. Race direction deducted one position dropping him back to seventh.
After the opening two flyaway rounds of the series, the Pata Honda team will now re-group at its Dutch workshop before heading for Spain and round three at Aragon Motorland on 10-12 April.
"In race one I did my best, of course, but we were just too far away from the pace of the front group." Quintoli said. "I did everything I could, but it turned out to be a bit of a lonely race for fifth. But race two was much more fun, even though we had a small technical problem which meant I had to start last.
"I had a great start and a great first two corners but then I got a bit over-excited and braked too late in turn five and lost three places. Finally I had a great battle with my team-mate which was more entertaining. Towards the end of the race I did my best lap time which was probably faster than my qualifying time, and that felt perfect, but it was difficult to be consistent.
"It‰Ûªs only my second race on the bike and I‰Ûªm still suffering from the neck injury in these dehydrating conditions. But we‰Ûªve now been to two different tracks with different characteristics and we can see that our pace is not as good as our rivals.
"So that gives us a base to work from and try to improve in key areas. Even though we‰Ûªre not fighting for wins at the moment we‰Ûªre still working to find solutions in the team and that will get the results we want.
Michael van der Mark walked away with plenty of positives from the weekend despite the small technical problem that forced him out of race one.
"In race one we had a little technical problem which ended the race for us but unfortunately these things can happen." Van Der Mark said. "It was a shame though because at that point in the race I was going faster and faster.
"In race two I felt really good but the start was not so good. I also made some mistakes in the first couple of laps and ran wide at one point so I had to fight back again. At the end I had a good fight with Sylvain and felt I was faster than him but not fast enough to get away.
"So I decided to stay behind and try to pass him on the final lap. We had a nice and fair fight and even though I crossed the finish line first, they put me one place back because I went outside the track in trying to get past at the final corner. But I enjoyed raced two and I think we have a lot of positives to go back to Europe with for the next round.
Top Image: Sylvain Guintoli is looking for more after 5th and 6th places in Thailand