Sylvain Barrier says he 'cannot believe' he is the 2012 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup winner after prevailing in a keenly fought season-long battle to lift a long-awaited title.
As one of the most experienced riders on the 2012 SSTK1000 grid, BMW Italia rider Barrier was tipped as a title challenger pre-season, a billing he lived up to initially when he won three of the opening four races at Imola, Assen and Misano.
However, crashes at Monza – where he also suffered a shoulder injury – Aragon and Brno would hand the initiative to the more consistent Eddi La Marra on the Barni Ducati.
Indeed, Barrier looked out of contention when he slipped 31 points behind La Marra with three races remaining, but when the Italian's consistency hit a bump with a crash at the Nurburgring, the Frenchman immediately pounced.
Winning his fourth race of the season at the Nurburgring, before keeping it tidy for second place finishes at Portimao and Magny-Cours, Barrier emerged the title winner by a fairly comfortable23 points in the end.
His first SSTK 1000 title in five years of trying, Barrier was thrilled to finally be crowned champion.
“I still cannot believe I won the title,” he said. “The hard work done with the team throughout the season has paid off and I want to thank the guys, my family, James, the Clinica Mobile and everyone who supported me during the year.
“It was a tough race, but I was feeling very comfortable on the bike from the warm-up. I rode very carefully on the first two laps because the rear tyre was not warmed up properly and also Eddi La Marra and Bryan Staring had already crashed.
“I tried to maintain the gap I had with the following riders and at the same I concentrated on making the tyres work properly and did not push to the limit. It's been a fabulous week-end and I am over the moon!”
Barrier's title win comes two years after Ayrton Badovini dominated the 2010 championship for BMW by winning all but one race.