World Superbike Championship pacesetter Sylvain Guintoli endured one of his 'most painful ever' experiences at Imola in 2012, but the Aprilia rider's love of the iconic Italian circuit hasn't diminished in the slightest.

Guintoli, who leads the way at the top of the standings by 28 points after six rounds of the series, suffered a broken rib following a crash in race on at Imola last year.

The injury left him in agony for the second race, but the French rider can't wait to soak up the 'special feeling' at Imola this weekend as he bids to give the Italian fans an Aprilia victory.

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"I always have a special feeling to go and race in Imola," he said.

"The track is very challenging and the history of this place makes it so unique.

"Last year, I had a first row Superpole qualifying but a crash in race one left me with a broken rib," added Guintoli.

"After this, race two was one of the most painful experiences of my life!

"[My] fighting spirit level is high... roll on Imola 2013."