WorldSBK

Guintoli crowned 2014 World Superbike Champion

Sykes misses out on his second World Superbike title by six points

FRENCHMAN Sylvain Guintoli has won the 2014 World Superbike Championship with a six-point lead over British rider Tom Sykes.

Aprilia Racing's Guintoli had been 44 points behind after the American round at Laguna Seca but had fought back to 12 points behind Sykes as they came to the last round of the championship.

Guintoli needed both races to secure the championship and took a career-first double win under the floodlights at Qatar, taking race two by almost four seconds.

Guintoli had seemed to have the Championship title in sights in 2013, but a series of injuries helped deny him victory.

Guintoli commented after race two: 'The feelings right now are truly incredible. 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.'

Speaking this weekend in Qatar, Guintoli continued: 'Today I showed that I am the fastest on the track. Winning the Title by 6 points is symbolic but it is extremely important for me after all the recent controversy.

'I want to thank a lot of people, starting with my family who gave me stability and had faith in me, as well as supporting me in these months of high pressure.

'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.'

Aprilia has won the Manufacturer World Championship for a third consecutive year and its seventh world title since 2009. It's the third time Aprilia has won the World Championship combination of Rider and Manufacturer, after previously doing so in 2012 and 2010 with Max Biaggi.

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