World Superbike star Sylvain Guintoli says he is delighted that Donington Park is back open – because it will help him to erase memories of breaking his leg in a horrific motorcycle accident at the circuit two years ago.
The 28-year-old motorcycle racer, who finished seventh in his first season in World SBK this year, has not ridden at the Leicestershire circuit following the incident in the 2009 British Superbike Championship, when his motorcycle collided with Joshua Brookes at the Melbourne Corner on the ride up to the grid.
Speaking at the recent Carole Nash Motorcycle Show at the NEC, Sylvain revealed that he has just had a pin removed from his right leg for good, clearing the way for his 2011 WSBK season in the colors of the newly formed Liberty Ducati superbike racing team.
World Superbikes returns to Donington next March, but it won’t be Sylvain’s first visit there since his accident. The French star lives in nearby Market Bosworth and has been back to the track as a spectator.
But he says nothing will compare to the moment he takes his superbike onto the track in just three months time.
Sylvain Guintoli says: "When I heard that Donington Park was back I thought the news was fantastic," he explains. "Donington has always been one of my favorite tracks and I’ve always loved going there.
"In fact, because I have lived in Britain for seven years now, Donington has become my home circuit. The first time my wife Caroline saw me race, shortly after we met, was at Donington for the GP and my friends and family have seen me there."
"So not only is it one of the best motorbike circuits in the UK, it is very special."
A lot of water has gone under the bridge for both Donington and Sylvain since the accident and he relishes the opportunity to leave bathed in glory, not in pain on a stretcher.
"I really want to go back to do well there after what happened there last time," he continued.
"I have had a look at it and although it has been altered slightly, the majority of the circuit hasn’t changed.
"The best bits, like the downhill section, are still there, so I am really looking forward to trying it out."