Newly crowned World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli will defend his WSBK title in 2015 as a PATA Honda rider after he was confirmed as replacing Jonathan Rea in the team.

The Frenchman, who clinched his first world championship in a thrilling final round showdown with Tom Sykes over the weekend, switches from the Aprilia team and brings with him experience of nine wins, 40 podiums and, of course, a WSBK title.

A deal that has been rumoured for some time in the wake of Aprilia's reluctance to confirm its plans for 2015, Guintoli will take the 'No.1' plate to PATA Honda to ride alongside Michael van der Mark in the Ten Kate Racing-run squad.

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Though it set to be his first outing on Honda machinery in World Superbikes, it will nonetheless mark a return to PATA colours for Guintoli following a half-season campaign on Ducati sponsored by the Italian snacks company in 2012. A brief, but successful association that yielded two wins, Guintoli says he is thrilled to be taking on a new challenge, particularly with a title now under his belt.

"The events of this season and especially last night are still buzzing in my head, but I'm delighted to be joining the Honda family and to be reuniting with Pata," he said. "The last time we worked together was a very unexpected but successful partnership. I brought Pata their first victories and we have a strong relationship.

"I'm looking forward to tackling this new challenge and I can't wait to get going. Johnny [Rea] has obviously been strong on the Honda all season, and sometimes he's been very strong! So I think there is definitely a big potential with the bike and I think the new rules for next year will suit it.

"So for us this is good news and I can't wait to understand how it works; but it looks like a really good package and I'm looking forward to getting the first impressions soon."

Though anticipated, the move is still considered something of a surprise given Guintoli's successful tenure with Aprilia, but his switch of allegiance to Honda is considered a sign that the Italian firm will scale back its WSBK activities in 2015 in favour of focusing on its burgeoning MotoGP project.

Honda hasn't won a WSBK title since James Toseland in 2007.


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Sorry Sylvain but the Honda is a slow old boat compared to the Aprilia so enjoy the moment but don't expect to repeat it next year.