WSBK Nürburgring 2013 preview

The Aprilia rider goes into this weekend’s round at the Nürburgring in Germany with a 13-point lead over Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes at the head of the standings. His lead owes much to the resilience the Frenchman has shown since dislocating his shoulder in a cycling accident. He raced through the pain barrier at Moscow and Silverstone, claiming two sixth places and a fourth from the three races in tenacious fashion. Guintoli had been expected to undergo surgery on the problem during the gap between Silverstone and the return to racing this weekend, but has decided against it as the injury has healed well and he is eager to get back to racing in better physical shape. He said: “I feel better than after the last two races, that’s for sure. The first thing I did was to go to my surgeon to understand what was the best thing to do, whether to undergo surgery or to wait. We decided not to do the surgery, so I have been doing a lot of physio and exercises in order to recover as quickly as possible and be ready for Nürburgring. I was far from happy after I got injured, and there was a lot of frustration looking at the challenge for the title. Everybody knows that in order to battle up front you need to be very fit, but in one way or another you have to train. I don’t do motocross, for example, because I think it’s too dangerous — but then I dislocated my collarbone while cycling! Those things happen, unfortunately, and I have to say that the Moscow round was a very tough one. I focused on doing the best I could and it worked. After all, I’m still leading the Championship.”

Guintoli leads the standings despite not having won since the very first race of the year in Australia, and knows adding to his tally would be a timely boost as the season reaches its decisive stage. “I haven’t won a race since Phillip Island, but I always do my best to fight for the win,” he said. “Sometimes it looks like I’m in the position to do so, but then it doesn’t happen. It’s a very competitive field, and many riders have what it takes to go for the win.”

Title rival Sykes, meanwhile, admits he was maybe too cautious in finishing 11th and seventh at Silverstone. He said: “I was not prepared to gamble too much, and we saw how easy it was for people to crash, so taking some points was better than taking none.”