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Confident from the start of the final 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship weekend, Sylvain Guintoli solidified his standing under the desert lights by claiming the first podium for Yamaha since its return to the top flight of production #racing, much to the delight of his Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Team. A strong fight from Alex Lowes at the #losail International Circuit saw the number 22 rider claim seventh.
Leaving the lights from his second row position, after securing fourth in the early evening Superpole, Guintoli instantly encountered Tom Sykes, vying for place for the opening laps before making his move on the third turn. Pushing his Pata Yamaha forwards, the Frenchman quickly entered into a six-lap battle with Nicky Hayden for podium glory, manoeuvring into third place with ten laps to go and holding the approaching American off for the ensuing circuits. Breaking the hold with six to go, Guintoli mastered his YZF-R1 around the 5,380m layout for the remainder of the race, crossing the line to the satisfaction of his crew to claim the 16 points and gifting Yamaha a rostrum visit for the first time since its four-year absence from the class.
An equally strong Superpole performance saw Lowes join his teammate on the second row of the grid, in sixth position, for the opening Qatari race. Caught in a three-way battle for sixth position for the opening revolutions, the British rider held eighth for the majority of the 17-lap contest. Attempting a move on Jordi Torres on a number of occasions, Lowes finally took his chance on the final lap to take seventh and nine championship points at the flag.
Guintoli and Lowes return to #losail for tomorrow's early evening warm up, on track at 17:30 local time, as the Pata Yamaha Official #worldsbk Team prepare for the concluding race of the year at 21:00.
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