An Aprilia Press release said 'It is a triumph, a double world championship win that was unimaginable just a few races ago. On the Losail track in Qatar Sylvain Guintoli completed a comeback that will go down in Superbike history and with two brilliant and undisputable wins in the two night races on the desert circuit he overtook Tom Sykes, earning the World Champion crown for the first time in his career.
Aprilia doubles the celebration by becoming the Manufacturer World Champion for the third consecutive year, reaffirming the undisputed technical superiority of the RSV4, the Italian bike that has rooted the best competition in the world since its rookie year in World SBK (2009), winning 7 World titles (three Rider and four Manufacturer). This world championship combination (Rider and Manufacturer) is the third one for the Aprilia RSV4 after sweeping the competition in 2010 and 2012 with Max Biaggi.'
Sylvain Guintoli has clinched a dramatic 2014 World Superbike Championship title after his second win of the day in Qatar successfully overturned the three point deficit to Tom Sykes in the final race of the season.
Having closed the gap down to Sykes to just three points after his win in the first encounter, Guintoli and his title rival came into the race knowing whomever finished in front of the other would likely be crowned champion.Though Sykes got the better start, a visibly quicker Guintoli would promptly work his way into contention, making a pivotal pass over Sykes on lap four before passing leader Jonathan Rea on lap five. From here, the Frenchman would forge a lead he would retain right to the chequered flag.
With Sykes finishing a fairly distant third behind Rea, the nine point margin between the two positions means Guintoli jumps ahead of Sykes to be crowned the 2014 World Superbike Champion by six points.
A tense race from the off, not least when Loris Baz got out of shape into turn one to take himself and Leon Haslam wide onto the gravel trap, Sykes and Guintoli nonetheless survived the melee to settle in first and fourth respectively through the opening lap.Despite his attempts to break away from the front, the Kawasaki rider instead found himself demoted to second at the start of lap two as Rea sneaked forward into the opening bend.
With Guintoli swallowing up Giugliano for third place courtesy of his superior straight line speed, the two title rivals were now line astern, albeit only until the start of lap four when the Frenchman simply used the same tactic to dismiss his rival down the home stretch.Now behind Guintoli in both the race and the provisional standings, Sykes attempted to fight-back but instead found himself bottled up behind Rea when Guintoli swept past the PATA Honda – the bike many expect him to be riding next year – into the lead on lap five.
From here, Guintoli simply stretched his legs, posting a new fastest lap to put air between himself and Rea, who in turn had the measure of Sykes behind him. Indeed, though Sykes would eventually get the better of Rea on lap eight, it was already too late for him to make in-roads on his team-mate even when the margin between the two began to increase again.So much so that when Rea snatched second back from Sykes with two laps remaining, the conclusion was inevitable, Guintoli needing to just keep it neat to the chequered flag to cross the line as the winner and a very worthy champion.
Clinching the title by just six points from a man that had led the championship from the third race and was 44 points clear with just six races remaining, Guintoli becomes the first Frenchman to win the title since Raymond Roche in 1990. Furthermore, it marks Aprilia's third rider's title and its fourth manufacturers' crown. Rea's second place means he finishes the 2014 season – and his time at Honda – with a career-best third overall, beating out Marco Melandri, who could only finish a distant fourth.
In the race, Chaz Davies completed the top five, ahead of Toni Elias and a charging Baz, the Frenchman – after his race one controversy – producing a strong final race ride to claw his way back to seventh place having been off at the first corner. Pole man Davide Giugliano ended another frustrating race day in eighth, ahead of Alex Lowes – the sole Suzuki finisher after Eugene Laverty crashed out – and the also-recovering Haslam. Having clinched the EVO title in race one, David Salom ended a successful 2014 season with another class win, ahead of Niccolo Canepa, Bryan Staring, Claudio Corti and Alessandro Andreozzi.
We congratulate Aprilia and Sylvain Guintoli for their achievement.