Aprilia has confirmed Sylvain Guintoli will join its factory team for the 2013 World Superbike Championship in place of retired champion Max Biaggi.
The Frenchman has been widely tipped to be joining the Italian manufacturer after appearing on the firm's RSV-4 alongside Eugene Laverty during testing at Jerez this week, but only now has Aprilia formally confirmed it.
Guintoli comes to Aprilia after stints on Suzuki and Ducati machinery over the past three seasons, the three-time race winner thrilled to be joining the championship winning team for 2013.
“I am very happy, especially because the feeling with the RSV4 has been good right from the first few metres,” he said. “To be able to sit in the saddle of the world champion bike is a great opportunity for me - one of the most important in my career.
“I think the bike has extremely high potential, as we've seen in the past few years, and I'm confident that I'll be able to put in some excellent results with it.”
With Guintoli impressing with his immediate pace on the RSV-4 during testing, Aprilia sporting director Gigi Dall'Igna was delighted to be welcoming the 30-year-old for next season.
“Sylvain is a great addition to our team and we were very keen to have him. His excellent first contact with the RSV4 during the tests held at Jerez were also encouraging. He proved to be a fast and solid rider straight away. He and Laverty will make a team to be reckoned with.
“We're preparing for the new season now. We have the world champion bike and two capable riders who always aim for top results, so I think we'll have fun.”
Guintoli, a former MotoGP rider, won three races – one with Effenbert Liberty Ducati and two with Pata Ducati – in 2012 on the way to seventh in the overall standings.