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Sylvain Barrier has been crowned 2012 FIM Superstock 1000 Champion after being gifted the title just one lap into the final race of the season at Magny-Cours when his only rivals Eddi La Marra and Bryan Staring crashed within metres of one another.
The Frenchman came into the race with a three point cushion over La Marra and a sizeable 23 point gap to Staring, but with rainy conditions greeting them for the showdown and all three riders starting on the front row, the stage was set for a tense finale.
As it happens, Barrier would be served the title on a plate just over a lap into the race when La Marra, running second behind early leader Jeremy Guarnoni, high-sided in the slippery conditions at turn one. Despite his best efforts to get going, La Marra would be left distraught as he was forced to concede defeat.
Even better for Barrier, slim title contender Staring would also rule himself out of contention when he got a slide out of the final corner and was almost thrown into a high-side. Though he expertly collected himself, the slide would nonetheless push him wide onto the slippery Astroturf, where he'd subsequently fall off. Despite getting going again, he was a long way from the win he needed to keep his hopes alive.
All but assuring Barrier of the title regardless of where he finished, the BMW Italia rider assumed La Marra's second place, where he would remain until the chequered flag.
Claiming his first world championship title in his fifth season of SSTK 1000 racing, the victory also marks BMW's second success after Ayrton Badovini's dominant campaign in 2010.
The race itself would be won by Guarnoni, the young Frenchman scoring the victory he has been threatening ever since he made the mid-season switch to MRS Kawasaki. It was a comprehensive performance too, the local favourite capitalising on the drama around him to win by almost ten seconds
Behind Barrier, La Marra's team-mate Lorenzo Savadori spared some blushes at Barni Ducati by securing the final podium spot of 2012, while another Frenchman Matthieu Lussiana equalled his best-ever SSTK finish at the 37th time of asking by holding onto fourth.
Doing his utmost to fight his way back up the order following his first lap fall, Pedercini Kawasaki's Staring produced a marvellous charge to secure fifth place – despite a further off-course moment at turn two -, but it wasn't quite enough to prevent Guarnoni from stealing third position in the standings. It's a particularly satisfying feat for Guarnoni given he left Pedercini to join MRS in place of Superbike-bound Loris Baz four rounds into the season.
Behind Staring, Christoffer Bergman prevailed in a race-long tussle with Ondrej Jezek for sixth, while wild-card rider Julien Millet, Randy Pagaud and Markus Reiterberger rounded out the top ten.
A race of high attrition, as well as La Marra's crash, Leandro Mercado fell from third position on lap eight, while Fabio Massei and wild-card Greg Gildenhuys both slid off in the tricky conditions from provisional top five places too.
As such, all but one rider who reached the chequered flag picked up points, with Massimo Parziani, Adrien Protat, Heber Pedrosa, Gabriel Berclaz and Tiago Dias filling positions 11th to 15th.