Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) is the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Champion after a nailbiting season final race held under floodlights at the Losail International Circuit, Qatar.
The race began with Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) colliding at turn one, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) heading the pack.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) took over the reigns as race leader before he was overhauled by race one winner Guintoli, the Frenchman setting a new lap record as he took the first double victory of his career to seal the World title by 6 points!
Sykes and Rea battled race long to determine the final spots on the podium with the Honda rider just edging the outgoing champion for second in final 3 laps.
Five riders fought hard for 4th with Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) coming home ahead of Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia).
Newly crowned Superbike EVO winner David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) was once again involved in a titanic fight for the best classified EVO rider coming home ahead of Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) in 11th, Canepa was 12th. Bryan Staring (Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki) rode well to claim the 3rd EVO placing in a credible 13th overall.
Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki), Aaron Yates (Team Hero EBR) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia)
In the final standings Jonathan Rea finished 3rd, 1 point ahead of Melandri.
- Sylvain Guintoli snatches the 2014 World Superbike title from Tom Sykes with victory in the final race of season
- Sykes can only finish in third place, leaving six points shy of defending his title
- Jonathan Rea finishes in second position to secure a career-best third overall for Honda
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.
Full race 2 results for the 12th and final round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship (WSBK) at Losail International Circuit
1. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 17 laps
2. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +3.568s
3. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +5.092s
4. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +8.305s
5. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +8.390s
6. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +8.654s
7. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +9.115s
8. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +13.015s
9. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +13.478s
10. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +25.471s
11. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +37.964s (E)
12. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R +38.001s (E)
13. Bryan Staring AUS IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +46.248s (E)
14. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR +51.926s
15. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +56.331s (E)
16. Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1m 23.937s
17. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap (E)
18. Alex Cudlin AUS Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1 lap (E)
19. Sylvain Barrier FRA BMW Italia S1000RR 5 laps completed (E)
20. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 4 laps completed
21. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R 3 laps completed (E)
22. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 2 laps completed