Sylvain Guintoli says he is determined to grasp the 'most important occasion' of his racing career as he prepares to start the 2013 World Superbike Championship season with reigning champions Aprilia.

After three seasons on Suzuki and Ducati machinery, the Frenchman assumes the place of retired champion Max Biaggi, where he will join Eugene Laverty on a quest to retain Italian team's riders' and manufacturers' titles.

Speaking at the launch of Aprilia's 2013 WSBK campaign, though Guintoli acknowledges the high expectations of joining such a successful team, he says a determination to prove himself is far greater than any external pressure he may experience.

Related Articles

"It's an honour to ride the world champion bike, for me this is the most important occasion of my racing career. A lot of people have asked me if I feel under a lot of pressure, but the fact that I want to do well and prove my worth in the World Superbike is far greater than any tension.

"What surprised me most about the RSV4 is that it felt immediately natural to ride. Straightaway I felt "at home", despite having ridden bikes with very different features in the past. The RSV4 is fast, but more important it offers all the adjustments to enable it to be adapted to my riding style."

In three seasons of WSBK racing, Guintoli has finished seventh (Alstare Suzuki - 2010), sixth (2011 - Effenbert Ducati) and seventh (2012 - Effenbert/Pata Ducati) in the overall standings. In that time he has notched up three wins, all achieved in 2012.