“Something we will remember for a long time”
In one of the most dramatic races on record, the Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team scored its most impressive result to date when MotoGP rookie, Sylvain Guintoli rode his Yamaha YZF-M1 to a sensational fourth place in the Japanese Grand
Prix at Motegi.
The race commenced on a wet, but drying track. Conditions soon improved ensuring that the riders timing of the all important pit stops to change to bikes fitted with lightly cut slick tyres would be crucial. Astute judgement and skill plus the performance of the tyres in the varying weather conditions would be the governing factor.
In the circumstances Sylvain gave a faultless display to finish just 1.2 seconds from second place and a tantalisingly close 0.566 of a second from the podium.
Sylvain constantly recorded the fastest lap of the race as he made his charge through the field after his stop, passing most of the field including Valentino Rossi. He then became embroiled in a titanic struggle with Toni Elias for third that wasn't decided until the final corner.
Teammate Makoto Tamada rued his decision to stay out on a drying track with his wet weather tyres for an extra two laps before pitting to finish in 12th place.
Sylvain Guintoli - Position: 4thTime: +0'12.192
"This has got to be one of the best days of my life! To finish fourth in a MotoGP is something I could only dream about at the beginning of the year but I will always think how close I was to a podium. I tried very hard on the last lap to pass Toni but I didn't want to try too hard and end up in the gravel.
I got a good start and decided to come in early to try and make a move on the leaders and it worked. To be fastest on the track for so many laps was very satisfying and I missed out on fastest lap of the race by so little in the battle with Toni. Also I was able to pass Valentino so I have done that twice this year. I'd like to thank the team and Dunlop so much as I will always remember this weekend."
Makoto Tamada - Position: 12thTime: +1'09.313
"I wish I could be as happy as Sylvain but I made the wrong tyre choice for the wet, as they were a little too soft. Plus I stayed out on the track too long when it dried out. If I had come in a few laps earlier I'm sure I could've been up there as well but in these conditions everything is a bit of a gamble."
Herve Poncharal - Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team Manager
“That was an incredible weekend. Sylvain had a really strong start to the race from 18th on the grid. He was catching a lot of riders and made the perfect decision to be one of the first to come in and went out on cut slick tyres and from that moment he was the fastest on the track lap after lap to get up to fourth. He went so close to a podium and that is a little disappointing but he rode so well and to have finished fourth is something we will remember for a long time. It was also very satisfying to achieve the result in Japan at the home of Dunlop and shows all the hard work the company has put in.