Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 6. Sylvain Guintoli
Nationality: French Team: Effenbert-Liberty Bike: Ducati 1098R Wins: 0 Podiums: 3 Championship points: 210 Championship position: 6th

Arguably the stealthiest rider on the 2011 World Superbike Championship grid, Sylvain Guintoli's charge up the standings over the second-half of the season was a just reminder of his credentials as a world championship racer.

Having been left on the market by Suzuki Alstare, despite a promising maiden WSBK campaign, Guintoli landed at ambitious Czech team Effenbert Liberty for 2011 and immediately gelled with the twin-cylinder satellite Ducati, setting an excellent pace in pre-season testing.

It is a shame then that a vicious accident during the first race of the season would leave him with a lingering foot injury, one that would keep his profile low over the opening rounds and ensuring Guintoli didn't get well into the top ten until round eight at Monza.

At this stage well outside the top ten overall and playing catch up to team-mate Jakub Smrz, Guintoli began his comeback with an excellent run to the podium at Miller Motorsports Park, his first rostrum result at WSBK level.

The result unleashed a strong run of form for Guintoli as he made it into the top ten in all but three of the remaining 18 races, while he was no lower than seventh in the last ten races.

Two more podiums followed at Nurburgring and the season-ending Portimao round, Guintoli coming remarkably close to his first win at the latter after a stunning ride was bettered only by a charging Carlos Checa.

As such, Guintoli ended the season sixth overall and only a few digits from overhauling Leon Haslam for fifth, an impressive result for a man who is - perhaps unfairly - rarely mentioned in the same sentence as race win contenders.

Staying with the same team for 2012, Guintoli will surely be looking to change that next season...
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2010: 10th Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2009: N/A Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2008: N/A
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011:
7. Leon Haslam 8. Ayrton Badovini 9. Max Biaggi 10. Noriyuki Haga
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