In a year that saw him start the 2012 World Superbike Championship with one team and end it with another, Sylvain Guintoli was thrilled to conclude an eventful season with a poignant victory on home soil at Magny-Cours.
Beginning his 2012 campaign as an Effenbert Liberty Ducati rider until his relationship with the infamous team soured eight rounds into the season, Guintoli's new home at PATA Ducati for the final five events nonetheless yielded some of his best results of the year.
However, Guintoli would still save his best until last around his home circuit of Magny-Cours as he - spurred on by the vocal home support - scythed his way to victory in the damp first race ahead of Tom Sykes and Marco Melandri.
His third win of the season having won with Effenbert Liberty at Assen and on his PATA debut at Silverstone, Guintoli was thrilled to secure a popular victory in front of his home fans.
“What a race! It's been a great weekend for me, obviously with a wet race I knew I had a big chance, then got into my rhythm. When Marco came past it woke me up and I found some extra pace and then managed to pass Tom. I'm really happy to win in France after this crazy season with lots of ups and downs.”
Going on to finish third in race two, in doing so leapfrogging Leon Haslam for seventh in the overall standings, Guintoli's success at Magny-Cours struck a particularly poignant tone as it would be classified as the last win for the ultra-successful Ducati 1098R, which will be replaced by the 1199 Panigale from 2013.
The win was also a fitting farewell to the PATA team as a whole, following the announcement that it will revert to title sponsor for the factory Honda outfit in 2013.
Guintoli, meanwhile, is widely expected to be announced as Leon Camier's team-mate at FIXI Crescent Suzuki for the 2013 season.