World Superbike Qatar Results 2014

November 2, 2014
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Aprilia Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli is the 2014 World Superbike champion after a thrilling set of races under the lights at Losail in Qatar. The French rider came to the finale 12 points behind Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes but thanks to two race wins he leaves six points ahead of the Kawasaki ace. Sykes’ teammate, Loris Baz, finished Race 1 in second-place followed by Sykes in third. Race 2 saw Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea cross the line in the runner-up spot followed by Sykes, once again, in third.

Race 1

Sykes throttled to the front in the opening turn but lost the lead to Rea during the initial lap. Guintoli trailed in third with Baz in fourth and Ducati’s Davide Giugliano in fifth. Baz started his move up the ranks early, getting to third in the opening rotation. He trailed Rea and Sykes for period but was able to draft past both riders for the lead by Lap 2. Guintoli hounded Sykes from fourth while behind Giugliano, Guintoli’s teammate, Marco Melandri, Ducati’s Chaz Davies and Rea’s teammate, Leon Haslam, were locked in a close battle for fifth.

As the race progressed Baz maintained a strong lead, opening a slight gap during the early going, but Guintoli was on another level. The RSV4 was powered by a new engine for the final race, and it was apparent as the Frenchman slipped easily past Sykes into third down the start/finish straight entering Lap 5. A few laps later Guintoli made a similar move on Rea for second position. By Lap 14 Guintoli had closed the gap on Baz and, yet again, throttled past the Kawasaki for the lead down the straight.

Sykes, meanwhile, had fallen back to fourth-place and was facing heavy pressure from Melandri, Giugliano and Davies. Knowing he had to keep Guintoli as close as possible, Sykes began to up the pace late in the contest, getting to Rea’s rear tire by Lap 11. The Kawasaki ace came into more difficulty a few laps later as Melandri worked his way up the ranks, eventually passing into fourth and dropping Sykes to fifth on Lap 14. The following rotation saw Sykes answer back to regain fourth and on Lap 16 he made the move on Rea for third.

Guintoli was out of reach at this point and Baz held strong to second. Kawasaki made no secret of its orders to Baz on the final lap, presenting a board which directed him to lose one position. Baz kept the throttle pinned through the final lap though, disobeying team orders to take the runner-up spot.

Rea finished in fourth with Giugliano trailing in fifth. Red Devils Roma’s Toni Elias staged a late race push which saw him land sixth just before the line. Davies finished in seventh with Melandri trailing in eighth. Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes finished ninth and 10th, respectively.

Sykes maintained a three point advantage in the lead after the end of Race 1.

World Superbike Qatar Race 1 Results 2014
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia)
2. Loris Baz (Kawasaki)
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
4. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
5. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
6. Toni Elias (Aprilia)
7. Chaz Davies (Ducati)
8. Marco Melandri (Aprilia)
9. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki)
10. Alex Lowes (Suzuki)
11. Leon Haslam (Honda)
12. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
13. David Salom (Kawasaki)
14. Sylvain Barrier (BMW)
15. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
16. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki)
17. Geoff May (EBR)
18. Imre Toth (BMW)

Race 2

Sykes pushed hard from the start in Race 2, assuming the lead through the first lap. Rea was hot on the Kawasaki’s heels during the initial stages and made the pass for the front by Lap 2. The Honda held the lead for a handful of laps but Guintoli proved to once again be unstoppable, the Aprilia gaining the front by Lap 5 and never looking back.

“The feelings right now are truly incredible,” said Guintoli. “Today was a great day, two fantastic races where I felt stronger than I have ever felt in my life. I was able to be fast without any trouble and lap times were just coming easily to me. Coming to Aprilia last year was a great opportunity for me and before my shoulder injury I was in the battle for the championship so it was a shame to lose so much ground because of my physical conditions.

“This year my fitness was perfect so I was able to be consistent and demonstrate our potential. I really began to believe after Magny-Cours, in fact I was certain: we were fast, I felt good and my team gave me great support. Today I showed that I am the fastest on the track. Winning the title by six points is symbolic but it is extremely important for me after all the recent controversy.

“I want to thank a lot of people, starting with my family who gave me stability and had faith in me, as well as supporting me in these months of high pressure. I am grateful to Aprilia. They provided me with the best bike I have ever ridden and a team that has become like a second family to me.”

By the finish Guintoli had opened more than three seconds on Rea, with Sykes trailing an additional two seconds back in third-place. The battle for fourth went down to the line between Melandri, Davies and Elias, with Melandri prevailing one step off the podium. Davies crossed the line in fifth with Elias taking sixth.

Baz finished Race 2 in seventh, suffering a brief run off track early in the contest which set him back in the pack. Giugliano trailed in eighth with Lowes in ninth and Haslam in 10th.

In the final tally, Guintoli ends six points ahead of Sykes in second. Rea takes third, a single point ahead of Melandri in fourth. Baz ends his time with Kawasaki World Superbike in fifth position, nearly 100 points ahead of Davies in sixth.

World Superbike Qatar Race 2 Results 2014
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia)
2. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
3. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
4. Marco Melandri (Aprilia)
5. Chaz Davies (Ducati)
6. Toni Elias (Aprilia)
7. Loris Baz (Kawasaki)
8. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
9. Alex Lowes (Suzuki)
10. Leon Haslam (Honda)
11. David Salom (Kawasaki)
12. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)
13. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki)
14. Claudio Corti (MV Agusta)
15. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki)
16. Geoff May (EBR)
17. Imre Toth (BMW)
18. Alex Cudlin (Kawasaki)

World Superbike Championship Points 2014
1. Sylvain Guintoli, 416
2. Tom Sykes, 410
3. Jonathan Rea, 334
4. Marco Melandri, 333
5. Loris Baz, 311
6. Chaz Davies, 215
7. Leon Haslam, 187
8. Davide Giugliano, 181
9. Toni Elias, 171
10. Eugene Laverty, 161