14 December 2015
WSBK Rider of the Year 2015 - 10th: Sylvain Guintoli
We start our countdown to see who you have voted as your 2015 World Superbike Rider of the Year... kicking off with someone that has endured a fall from grace.
10th – Sylvain Guintoli
Average poll score out of ten: 5.2
Team: PATA Honda
Bike: Honda CBR1000RR
Fastest Laps: 0
Best Finish 3rd
Championship points: 218
Championship position: 6th
What a difference a year makes for Sylvain Guintoli
With Jonathan Rea realising what he had been missing for the last few seasons when he made his bold move from the Honda stable to Kawasaki, defending champion Guintoli experienced something similar… albeit the other way around.
After choosing not to wait on Aprilia's umming and erring over whether it would stay in WSBK or move fully into MotoGP, Guintoli's decision to take the #1 plate to PATA Honda was met with a few raised eyebrows, not least because it would prove a test of ability for both man and machine as the rider to fill Rea's boots after six seasons with the Ten Kate Racing led team.
With Rea going on to prove his value with a dominant run to the title, Guintoli's brief time at Honda yielded few headline moments beyond disappointing races on the periphery of the Kawasaki – Aprilia – Ducati tussles up ahead.
A pre-season injury didn't get things off to a good start initially, but thereafter Guintoli found himself largely playing catch up and never quite finding the sweet spot on the CBR1000RR, which continues to struggle with its troublesome electronics package.
Having to wait until the penultimate round of the season to step back onto the podium – a strange occurrence given his 16 rostrums en route to the 2014 title -, Guintoli also didn't do what Rea had at least achieved in his time there and claim race wins, leaving Honda without a victory for the first time since the Japanese manufacturer boycott of 2003.
Though consistency, which has formed the backbone of Guintoli's campaigns since his debut back in 2010, would see him secure a respectable sixth at the end of the season, he was matched pace-for-pace by team-mate Michael van der Mark, a telling suggestion there is still life in the Honda yet… but with a feisty rider like Rea and van der Mark, rather than the steady, methodical hands of Guintoli.
It meant he ended the season with almost half of the points that spurred him on to his title win… and with a swift new contract with Yamaha in his back pocket.
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2014: 1st
Top 10 WSBK Rider of the Year 2013: 3rd
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
Do you agree the poll results? If not, why not? Leave your comments below...
About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Riders' World Championship standings, the WSBK Rider of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results.
Over 50,000 votes were cast for the 2015 Crash.net WSBK Rider of the Year poll, where viewers awarded each of the top twenty from this year's WSBK standings with a mark out of ten.
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