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Suzuki: "Hazy" rule to blame for Guintoli exclusion

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Suzuki: "Hazy" rule to blame for Guintoli exclusion
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Co-author: Oriol Puigdemont
Oct 19, 2019, 12:59 PM

Suzuki has blamed a “hazy” regulation regarding MotoGP wildcard riders for Sylvain Guintoli’s exclusion from Friday’s practice sessions at Motegi and having to ditch its 2020 engine.

Test rider Guintoli is making his fourth race appearance this year on the GSX-RR this weekend at Motegi, and ran a prototype version of Suzuki’s ’20 engine on Friday - the Frenchman saying he was encouraged by its performance.

But the stewards subsequently excluded him from the FP1 and FP2 results for running an engine deemed illegal under homologation rules. As a result, Suzuki also had to revert Guintoli to a current-spec motor for Saturday.

“Suzuki misunderstood the regulation,” team boss Davide Brivio told Motorsport.com. “We thought that, as a wildcard, it was fine for Guintoli to run the new spec engine.

“The regulation is a bit hazy, but of course we accepted [the ruling] and we swapped back to the current-spec [engine].”

As Suzuki is one of four manufacturers – along with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati – to run without concessions, its engines are frozen for the year prior to the first race.

This rule extends to wildcard riders for non-concession manufacturers.

Guintoli, who qualified 21st for Suzuki’s home event, branded the Suzuki’s running of an illegal engine as a simple misinterpretation of the rules.

“Obviously what happened was a mistake of interpretation of the rule,” he said. “So we corrected it this morning before FP3, and rightly so the times were taken off from yesterday.

“In a sense of the rule I kind of agree [that this rule shouldn’t apply to test riders], but it is what it is – we are not contesting anything.”

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Guintoli says Suzuki was only told about the ruling “not long” before FP3, and praised the efforts of his team to swap out the engines as quick as they did.

“We were told this morning not a long time before FP3,” he added. “The guys did a great [job]. It was not long before FP3, so they did a great job swapping [the engines].

“I only had one bike for FP3, [they] swapped the engine quickly back to this year’s spec so I could do FP3, and I only started five minutes late.”

Sylvain Guintoli, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Sylvain Guintoli, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Japanese GP
Author Lewis Duncan