Sylvain Guintoli Spotted Testing Haga's World Superbike Yamaha
The whirlwind that is MotoGP silly season has just about blown itself out after Indianapolis, helped on its way perhaps by hurricane Ike, and as the seats have continued to fill, there are some three riders still left standing, apparently with no immediate future in MotoGP. Shinya Nakano looks likely to replace the aging Tady Okada as HRC's test rider - a role he is to some extent already filling at Gresini Honda, and Kawasaki are still keen to retain Ant West, albeit on either a World Superbike or World Supersport machine. But for Sylvain Guintoli, the prospects for 2009 were far less obvious.
There were rumors, of course, mostly about a possible future in World Superbikes, but the truth of such rumors is always hard to discern. The one rumor that surfaced most frequently linked Guintoli to the vacant seats at Yamaha Italia in WSBK, but with Tom Sykes - currently riding a Suzuki in BSB - signed to replace the departing Noriyuki Haga, and no clear word on whether Troy Corser would be staying or going, even that ride looked uncertain.
Now, though, evidence has emerged that Guintoli could indeed be heading for Yamaha after all. The Italian site Xracer.it spotted the British-based Frenchman testing Noriyuki Haga's Yamaha R1 at Vallelunga after this weekend's recent World Superbike round at the Italian track.
A switch back to Yamaha would be a logical move for Guintoli, as the Frenchman still retains good ties with the company through his former Tech 3 Yamaha team boss Herve Poncharal. And as Guintoli has proven, he is capable of being more than fast enough given the chance, as some strong, if sporadic, results have demonstrated in the last two years.
Guintoli's test would also seem a tacit admission by Yamaha that Troy Corser will in fact be leaving the Yamaha Italia World Superbike team at the end of the season, most likely to join the fledgeling Superbike effort at BMW. The German factory are keen to shake off their image of building rather staid touring bikes, and the S1000RR is their weapon in this struggle. But to develop a completely new bike needs an experienced veteran, and the former World Champion Troy Corser fits that bill absolutely perfectly.
No official announcements have been forthcoming about the test, or the future of either Corser or Guintoli at the team. While MotoGP silly season is nearly over, it is still in full swing over in World Superbikes. The caroussel continues...