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WSBK Rider of the Year vote: 3rd

27 December 2013

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013:
3. Sylvain Guintoli

Nationality: French
Team: Aprilia Racing
Bike: Aprilia RSV4
Wins: 1
Podiums: 14
Championship points: 402
Championship position: 3rd

Just a glance at the statistics above is indicative of Sylvain Guintoli's slightly disjointed run at the 2013 World Superbike Championship title, the Frenchman somehow (impressively, in many ways) managing to form a title challenge on the basis of just a single race win.

Having gone to great lengths to make himself available for Max Biaggi's title-winning Aprilia ride (much to the chagrin of Suzuki boss Paul Denning), Guintoli's rather controversial decision to renege on an earlier deal looked to have paid off from the word go when he swept to a very convincing victory from the word go.

At the time no-one could possibly realise that this would turn out to be the only occasion in 2013 that Guintoli would celebrate on the top step of the podium.

With this in mind, it's remarkable to think that it was Guintoli that actually led the standings for much of the season, his unwavering consistency notching up precious points on days when his main rivals could not. Indeed, when Tom Sykes was dropping his bike on the sighting lap in Portugal and Eugene Laverty was throwing his bike down the road more than once, Guintoli was almost always at the chequered flag and often on the rostrum.

That being said, the man himself understood that consistency could only get you so far and when he was eventually reeled in by Sykes and Laverty in the final third of the season, he couldn't formulate a convincing response.

A mid-season shoulder injury, caused during a training accident, didn't help Guintoli's cause, though the man himself refused to use it as an excuse, admitting he would often struggle to be forceful enough in the heat of the battles.

Nonetheless, save for a technical-induced DNF at Imola, Guintoli never once finished outside the top six and while he would only get a single chance to stand atop the podium, he still made 14 trips to the rostrum over the course of the year.

When you consider that Guintoli finished just 45 and 22 points behind Sykes and Laverty respectively, despite accruing eight fewer wins, it really does suggest what could have been…

Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2012: 5th
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2011: 6th
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 2013:

4. Chaz Davies
5. Marco Melandri
6. Loris Baz
7. Jonathan Rea
8. Davide Giugliano
9. Toni Elias
10. Leon Camier

Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...


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