WSBK: Guintoli Edges Sykes for Superbike World Championship

World Superbike Season Finale Race Results From Qatar.

It’s every race fan’s dream, and every racer’s nightmare––a series that comes down to the wire to decide the championship. That was the scenario as the eni FIM Superbike World Championship arrived in Losail, Qatar, for the 2014 season finale under the lights, on November 2.

Going into the race reigning SBK champ Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) held a 12-point lead over Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia); both had the title within reach as the starting lights went out and the first of two races began. Jonathan Rea (Honda) took an early lead but was soon passed by Loris Baz (Kawasaki), Guintoli’s teammate. Eventually Guintoli re-passed and the pair started to eke out a lead on the rest of the field.

Jonathan Rea

Late in the race, Aprilia displayed a pit board for Baz ordering him to drop back one position and let Sykes through to narrow the gap to leader Guintoli. Baz, who is heading to MotoGP next year, either didn’t see the sign or chose to ignore it, and held second place to the flag, with Sykes coming home third ahead of Rea in fourth.

Tom Sykes

In a post-race interview, winner Guintoli remarked that even he was surprised by the speed of his Aprilia on the straights. Elsewhere, Sykes was fuming, and called Baz “immature and disrespectful” for ignoring team orders.

Going into race two, Sykes held a mere 3-point advantage over Guintoli. In what was shaping up to be a straight-up winner-take-all championship, Rea took an early lead, followed by Sykes and Guintoli. On lap four Guintoli passed first Sykes, then Rea, and took the lead. By lap 11 he was so far out in front that Sykes’ only hope to catch him was for the Aprilia rider to crash or break. On lap 14 Rea made Sykes’ prospects even dimmer by passing him for second place. At the checkered flag it was Guintoli, Rea, and Sykes. The title was Guintoli’s by just six points over Sykes. On the cool-off lap Sykes was one of the first riders to congratulate Guintoli for a season hard fought and a championship well deserved.

Silvain Guintoli leading race 2
Guintoli on the race 2 podium.

It was Giuntoli’s first SBK double, his first SBK title, and the first SBK title for a French rider since Raymond Roche in 1990. “The feelings right now are truly incredible,” Guintoli said after the race. “Today was a great day, two fantastic races where I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my life. I was able to be fast without any trouble and lap times were just coming easily to me. Coming to Aprilia last year was a great opportunity for me and before my shoulder injury I was in the battle for the championship so it was a shame to lose so much ground because of my physical conditions. “This year my fitness was perfect so I was able to be consistent and demonstrate our potential. I really began to believe after Magny-Cours––in fact I was certain: we were fast, I felt good, and my team gave me great support. Today I showed that I am the fastest on the track.…I am grateful to Aprilia. They provided me with the best bike I have ever ridden and a team that has become like a second family to me.”

Race 1 Results

  1. Sylvain Guintoli, Factory Aprilia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  2. Loris Baz, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  3. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  4. Jonathan Rea, Pata Honda World Superbike Team, Honda CBR1000RR
  5. Davide Giugliano, Ducati Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  6. Toni Elias, Red Devils Roma, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  7. Chaz Davies, Ducati Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  8. Marco Melandri, Factory Aprilia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  9. Eugene Laverty, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000
  10. Tom Lowes, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000
  11. Leon Haslam, Pata Honda World Superbike Team, Honda CBR1000RR
  12. Niccolo Canepa, Althea Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  13. David Salom, KRT, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  14. Sylvain Barrier, BMW Motorrad Italia, BMW S1000 RR
  15. Bryan Staring, Iron Brain, Kawasaki ZX-10R

Race 2 Results

  1. Sylvain Guintoli, Factory Aprilia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  2. Jonathan Rea, Pata Honda World Superbike Team, Honda CBR1000RR
  3. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  4. Marco Melandri, Factory Aprilia Racing Team, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  5. Chaz Davies, Ducati Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  6. Toni Elias, Red Devils Roma, Aprilia RSV4 1000
  7. Loris Baz, Kawasaki Racing Team, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  8. Davide Giugliano, Ducati Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  9. Tom Lowes, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000
  10. Leon Haslam, Pata Honda World Superbike Team, Honda CBR1000RR
  11. David Salom, KRT, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  12. Niccolo Canepa, Althea Superbike Team, Ducati Panigale 1199R
  13. Bryan Staring, Iron Brain, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  14. Claudio Corti, Yakhnich Motorsport, MV Agusta F4RR
  15. Alessandro Andreozzi, Team Pedercini, Kawasaki ZX-10R
  16. Geoff May, Team Hero EBR, EBR1190RX
  17. Imre Toth, Team Toth, BMW S1000 RR
Silvain Guintoli leading Loris Baz in race 1.
Jonathan Rea
Loris Baz will race MotoGP in 2015.
Loris Baz
Silvain Guintoli leading race 2
Guintoli on the race 2 podium.
Tom Sykes