GMT 94 prepares for its arrival in the 2008 World Superbike
Endurance world champion 2004, winner of the Bol d’Or 2007 and present in the top 10 of the Supersport World Championship this year, the GMT 94 now has access to the world Superbike! The opportunity to take stock with Christophe Guyot and David Checa.
Endurance world champion in 2004, winner of the Bol d’Or 2007 and present in the top 10 of the Supersport World Championship this year, the trio Christophe Guyot, David Checa and Sebastien Gimbert from GMT 94 now reach the ultimate category: the World Superbike! The opportunity for Site to take stock with Christophe and David.
The GMT 94 is above all a story of passion. An ardor that we find not only in the speeches of its manager, Christophe Guyot, but also in the eyes of his two pilots with whom he achieved his ultimate dream: to win the Bol d’Or in front of the tenors of the World Championship endurance !
The friendly team from Val-de-Marne (94) is also the author of a great season in World Supersport which opens the doors to the WSBK. On the morning of the Magny-Cours final, Christophe confided in us his joy of going to rub shoulders with the tenors of the highest category in 2008.
Site : Christophe, this is the last "round" of the season for you and your drivers, what are your goals for your last race in the category ?
Christophe Guyot : The objective of the season has already been reached since the team is sure to appear in the "Top 10" of the category at the end of this race. This is really a very good thing, since it allows us to take the step that we have been waiting for a long time: to go on Superbike! For this race, I think David and Sebastien will make a point of finishing as well as possible. (David Checa finished 6th and Sebastien Gimbert 11th, Editor’s note). Yesterday in qualifying they both fell, but we will not blame them: it is the first time that they have fallen in the qualifying session! Unfortunately, they only have one motorbike each and they were unable to set off again to try to access the first or second row, which in my opinion was within their reach.
M.-N.C. : What is the assessment to be drawn from this 2007 season ?
C. G. : You should know that the 600 cc is not our category. We have been in difficulty all year, even if we have great drivers who have allowed us to bring back a lot of points and therefore to be well placed in the "teams" classification. But David and Sebastien are not good in the drivers’ standings and it is not their places.
M.-N.C. : Do you have specific goals for the SBK next year? ?
C. G. : My goal since the beginning of the adventure has already been to be able to be there! People talk to me a lot about the budget, that the World Superbike is expensive (especially since FG Sport, the promoter, has just announced an increase in registration fees and tires for 2008, Editor’s note), I think that already, it is necessary to be able to go there. The first step is the 600, even with limited means, then to enter the Top 10 to access the 1000.
M.-N.C. : Beyond athletic performance, why is it so important to finish in the top 10 in Supersport ?
C. G. : Being in the Top 10 allows us to no longer deal with the logistics and tires budget: it is a sum of 250,000 euros that the team will not have to pay and which allows us to be able to climb in SBK. At the time, when I said "yes" I only had the two endurance bikes to offer my riders, but the fact of trying the adventure makes a lot of people want to help us. Now, the main objective in 2008 would be to finish in the Top 10 in order to have more resources for the following year and to take the stages one by one: it took a long time to be world endurance champions or to win the Bol d’Or. It took me a long time to win the French Superbike title (in 1998, editor’s note) and we want to continue to demonstrate that determination, talent and desire always pay off !
M.-N.C. : What are the main differences between an endurance motorcycle and a World Superbike machine? Can the experience acquired on one be used on the other? ?
C. G. : In figures, that gives 25 kg of difference and 20 horses! But we have already found weight to remove on our machines and power to add! This experience in SBK will be of great benefit to us for endurance racing: this year, it was extremely difficult for us to reach Le Bol without having driven since the 24 Hours of Le Mans! Our opponents were able to continue to improve throughout the season, as we arrived without benchmarks … Next year, the development of the Superbike will greatly benefit the endurance bike..
Christophe leaves us in the company of David Checa (who will meet his older brother Carlos in the WSBK category next year!) After his test session. The 27-year-old Spaniard confides in us his joy to end a difficult 2007 season, which he finished in 12th place overall.
M.-N.C. : David, what are your expectations for your last Supersport event ?
David Checa : I will try to do the best for the team, our fans and even for myself! The track conditions this morning reminded me of the Bol d’Or 2006, with cold and a lot of humidity … I think the bike is good and I feel good, but we lose a lot in a straight line (around 7 tenths ). This is the reason for my fall in qualifying yesterday: I attack like crazy to compensate for this deficit !
M.-N.C. : You lose 7 tenths just on the straight line ?!
D. C. : Even a little more, because there are other stretches at Magny-Cours. Unfortunately, we knew when we arrived that there would be no revolutions on the bike: it is possible to follow by taking risks everywhere, but sometimes by dint of wanting to do too much…
M.-N.C. : What are your feelings about your arrival in Superbike next year? ?
D. C. : For the moment I am in World Supersport and I try to do the best possible here. For next year, we’ll see !
M.-N.C. : Are you satisfied with your season in Supersport? ?
D. C. : No ! Not at all ! I’m a little disappointed, because the team tried to do everything to make it work: the preparation and the chassis are nickels, but we couldn’t get the engine to work. Fortunately we won the Bol d’Or, because otherwise it would have really been a very dark season…
M.-N.C. : You did not expect to encounter so many difficulties ?
D. C. : No. Of course, in endurance racing, we are an official team, whereas here in Supersport we are a private structure, so that complicates things. We are not competitive enough and that disappoints me: I expected much better, I wanted to win races, to finish on the podium! Honestly, at mid-season, I almost hung up: fortunately there is the team, Christophe … and the victory of the Bol !
M.-N.C. : Where does this lack of competitiveness come from? Lack of means, lack of preparation ?
D. C. : It is especially at the level of the engine that the shoe pinches: we cannot make it work correctly and I do not know why! Last year, things were better at this level but I have nothing to reproach the team with: they all work very hard, the mechanics are top notch and Christophe does the maximum !
After a season of ups and downs, GMT 94 is now focused on its future in World Superbike. And while Christophe Guyot says he does not want to skip the stages, his pilots have the sacred fire in their eyes !
David and Sebastien are thirsty for victories and can count on their experience in the category to do well: the most French of the Spanish riders took part in six rounds in 2005, while Sebastien did two seasons in the Yamaha YZF development team….
What’s more, the practice of these two categories will be able to be combined, where driving a 600 Supersport did not help much for endurance events..
Interview by A. BARDIN
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