WorldSBK Race One: Bautista Blasts To San Juan Victory
The opening race of the Motul Argentinean round at the Circuito San Juan Villicum would see a frantic race for WorldSBK’s second visit to South America. It was a thrilling duel at the front between four race winners in 2019 with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) storming to Saturday success in San Juan.
With the race underway, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) barged ahead of Alvaro Bautista at turn one, but Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) capitalised on the two ahead of him, nearly colliding, before taking the lead. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) was right in contention and nearly clashed with 2020 teammate van der Mark. Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) was a strong fifth place whilst Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) had risen to sixth early on.
The race settled down, and the leading four began to battle with each other. Bautista set a strong pace out front, but Jonathan Rea’s relentless charge meant that a battle soon ensued. A pattern began to form, with Bautista’s Ducati strong in a straight line but Rea’s Kawasaki all over the Spaniard in the corners. Waiting to pick up the pieces was Razgatlioglu and van der Mark, whilst Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) began to pick his way through the field.
With 16 laps left to complete, Michael van der Mark started to drop back from the leading three. Bautista began to clock fastest lap after fastest lap and two laps later, Razgatlioglu was the next to be jettisoned from the leading group. Jonathan Rea valiantly remained with the Spaniard, getting ahead briefly at turn six, only for Ducati power to prevail. Rea would stay on the back of Bautista for a few more laps, but the five-time champion couldn’t compete with the pace of Bautista.
Meanwhile, Tom Sykes had dropped back, as had eighth-place starter Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Mie Racing Team), down in tenth and battling hard with home-favourite, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura), both having superb races inside the top ten. Behind them, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) had suffered badly and pulled into the pits, although he returned to the track later on.
Further up the order, Alex Lowes was being reeled in by Leon Haslam. The battle between the two was now turning from contract signatures to on-track positions, although the ‘Pocket Rocket’ looked like he would have more pace than Lowes in the closing stages. However, it wouldn’t be the case and Lowes would eventually hold on to fifth position.
With Bautista clearing off at the front, the battle for second ignited, as Razgatlioglu closed in on Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman was making mistakes, particularly at turn six. But neither would be able to challenge Bautista, who returned to winning ways. Jonathan Rea took second and resisted Razgatlioglu’s onslaught who was third. The Turk wrapped up the accolade of Best Independent Rider in 2019. Fourth went to a determined Michael van der Mark whilst teammate Alex Lowes completed the top five.
Sixth position was Leon Haslam, who faded in the closing laps, whilst Tom Sykes was seventh and top BMW. Eighth place went to Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing), as the second independent rider home. Leandro Mercado made it to ninth position to the delight of the home crowd, making up for missing FP3 and the Tissot Superpole session. It was a second top ten of the season for Alessandro Delbianco, with the Honda rider making it all five manufacturers inside the top ten.
Before the race began, there was a division about riders racing due to the track conditions. The following riders elected not to race, meaning 12 riders took to the track for Race 1: Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati), Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Marco Melandri (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK), Leon Camier (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team), Ryuichi Kiyonari (Moriwaki Althea Honda Team) and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven).
WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race: Rea Takes Argentine Sprint
From the sunshine of Saturday came the cloud cover of Sunday, the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship readied for the Tissot Superpole Race with the track temperature much cooler than Saturday, but the action on track much hotter.
Making the most of the Circuito San Juan Villicum track and taking victory once more was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) breezing to Argentine success and securing pole for race two.
With the lights going out, the drag race down to the tight turn one was important, with Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) leading ahead of Jonathan Rea, whilst Toprak Razgatliolgu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)made it up to third. At turn six, Rea hit the front and sat Bautista up, hitting the front and immediately pulled clear. Behind the leading three, Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) collided on the exit of turn nine. Out front, Rea led Bautista with Razgatlioglu holding onto third ahead of Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team). It was a disaster at the end of the opening lap for Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha), as he crashed at turn 16 in another highside.
The lap times came down dramatically and Jonathan Rea was setting new lap records each time, but the tousles down the field continued to erupt.
Chaz Davies passed van der Mark eventually before chasing down Alex Lowes, taking fourth on lap five. Behind them, Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) were coming from outside the top ten, running eighth and ninth respectively.
With two laps to go, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was faster than those ahead of him, and broke into the top ten, pinching tenth from Leon Camier and then, setting off after Haslam and Sykes on the final lap. Soon enough, the Argentine rider was right in the mix and got on Tom Sykes’ case, although he was unable to make his way ahead of the 2013 WorldSBK Champion.
Out front, Jonathan Rea took the victory by a comfortable margin over Alvaro Bautista with Toprak Razgatlioglu third.
Chaz Davies, Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark filled positions four to six, followed by Sandro Cortese, Leon Haslam and Tom Sykes edging out local rider, Leandro Mercado.
WorldSBK Tissot Superpole Race Results: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
WorldSBK Race Two: Rea Victorious As Davies Comes Back Strong
The final race of the weekend at the Motul Argentinean round was a thrilling spectacle, with plenty of hard action and big moves throughout the pack. Despite making his own mistakes and needing to fight in the early stages, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) romped home to win race two of the weekend, with Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) second and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) third.
Off the start and into turn one, Jonathan Rea held on to his first position, whilst Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu battled behind. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK)was a fast starter and into fourth, whilst Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and his teammate Michael van der Mark were fifth and sixth. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had dropped to seventh.
With the race beginning to take shape, Rea pulled away from Bautista, whilst Toprak Razgatliolgu was as relentless as ever, chasing down Bautista. Bautista and Rea in-turn were trading fastest lap times. Chaz Davies had picked off the Yamahas ahead of him one by one, using the top speed advantage of the Ducati Panigale V4 R down the long straights of San Juan to good effect. The next target for the Welshman was Razgatlioglu, who was going to need to fight hard to resist the Turk.
There was drama up front for Rea, who made a big mistake at turn eight and ran completely off the circuit, allowing Bautista to take the lead for the first time. However, Rea wouldn’t give in and a lap later, on lap eight, Rea fought back and pushed his way back to the front at turn seven, shoving Bautista wide. The squabble between the two heavyweights allowed Razgatlioglu and Davies to close up.
With 13 laps to go, Davies took third from Razgatlioglu with a strong move at turn ten on the Turkish rider. Now a man on a mission, Davies soon caught his teammate. Bautista tried to fight but Davies powered ahead of his teammate two laps later to take second. With 2.6s to close down on the race leader, Davies had plenty of work to keep him occupied for the remainder of the race.
Bautista however was in more problems and with nine laps to go, as Toprak Razgatlioglu had regrouped and was immediately able to get ahead of the Spaniard, sweeping around the outside at turn two to take third from the race one winner. Bautista was losing time to Michael van der Mark hand over fist, and the 26-year-old Dutchman nailed him.
Further down the field, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was having an impressive race, breathing down the neck of the top ten. The home hero picked off Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and at turn 11 with eight laps left, dived up the inside of factory Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam to take eighth place. A lap later, and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven)was up ahead of Haslam and Torres. Ahead of all of them, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was a sitting duck.
With four laps to go, Mercado got ahead of Rinaldi at turn 15, sparking a massive roar from the partisan crown trackside. However, Laverty got ahead of the pair of them on the front straight, pushing Mercado back to eighth whilst the Irishman went in pursuit of his best result since Aragon. In terms of Mercado, he had come from 19th to eighth; an astonishing comeback.
Out front on the final lap, Jonathan Rea was uncatchable and took victory for a fourth time in Argentina, Chaz Davies was second whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu completed a stellar weekend with another podium, his sixth in seven races. Fourth belonged to Michael van der Mark whilst Alvaro Bautista limped home to complete the top five. Alex Lowes finished sixth.
Eugene Laverty put in a strong ride up to seventh, but the ride of the day went to home-hero Mercado, who stormed from last on the grid to eighth, much to the delight of the crowd. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) was ninth ahead of Leon Haslam in 10th. Sandro Cortese slipped to 15th, having run as high as fourth in the early stages.
WorldSBK Race 2 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 2. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
WorldSBK Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Rea – 601 points (Kawasaki) 2. Alvaro Bautista – 460 points (Ducati) 3. Alex Lowes – 305 points (Yamaha) 4. Michael van der Mark – 304 points (Yamaha) 5. Toprak Razgatlioglu – 299 points (Kawasaki)
WorldSSP: Cluzel Storms To San Juan Victory, Krummenacher And Caricasulo Clash
The title was on the line ahead of the World Supersport race in San Juan, Argentina, making the duel one of the most important in 2019. In a thrilling race where plenty of mistakes and hard moves were seen, it was Jules Cluzel (GMT94 YAMAHA) who delivered the goods to take victory and keep his title hopes alive, whilst for a second round on the trot, there were no BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team Yamaha riders on the podium.
WorldSSP Race Results: 1. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) 2. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) 3. Isaac Vinales (Kallio Racing)
WorldSSP Championship Standings
1. Randy Krummenacher – 202 points 2. Federico Caricasulo – 194 points (Yamaha) 3. Jules Cluzel – 180 points (Yamaha)