Previews of the WorldSBK round from the brand new San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina:
It’s time to tango in Argentina
New track and new challenges awaits WorldSBK
Heading into the unknown, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship prepares to take on Circuito San Juan Villicum for the first time and despite the title being wrapped up in France two weeks ago, there is plenty more to be decided out on track. A brand new circuit brings brand new battles, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) out to break more records and the battle for runner-up heating up, there’s a lot to be look out for.
Crowned world champion in France and on a winning streak of eight in a row, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) won’t be looking to slow down in Argentina. With one eye on the overall points record and another on the overall win record, the Northern Irishman will hope to continue with his sensational pace on the ZX-10RR this season. The last rider to win on a new circuit back in 2015 at Buriram, Rea has a lot of history on his side and surrounded by his close team, there will be no doubt he will be gunning for another piece of history.
Still riding injured, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) put on a sensational performance to take a podium last time out in France, pushing through the pain barrier to secure second position after an early race hussle. With even more time to rest before heading to Argentina, the British rider will once again have his eyes on the runner up spot in the championship, and the left handed nature of the new Circuito San Juan Villicum will only play into his hands. If Davies takes a podium finish, he will secure the 888th rostrum finish for Ducati in WorldSBK, or will it be team-mate Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who takes that milestone?
Heating up the battle out on track is Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team), as the Dutchman is the man hoping to stop Davies taking the overall runner up spot. Sitting 26 points behind Davies with four races to go and 100 points on the table, van der Mark has his eyes on another victory this season. Taking four podiums from the last five races, the Dutchman is preparing to put up a strong fight into the unknown this weekend. It’s been five months since his debut double at Donington, and it remains to be seen if he can match it.
Continuing to struggle with the rear grip issues which Eugene Laverty and his Milwaukee Aprilia team thought they had solved at the mid-point of the season, they will be hoping to end the season on a high. Despite some strong lap times in Superpole, Laverty and his British-based team are still searching for the solution throughout the race. One of the few riders to have raced in Argentina before – at Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo - and winning the first ever race at Istanbul Park in 2013, the Irishman has a good history at new tracks and will be hoping it will be the same five years on.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) continues to struggle with his CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, after a tough round last time out in France. With two top 11 finishes around Magny-Cours, the British rider will be hoping to find the pace he had back in Thailand or more recently at the four day Portimao test. Heading into unknown territory of Argentina, the even ground might come as a help not a hinderance to the Red Bull squad, with team-mate Jake Gagne continuing to learn the tracks on the calendar.
Fresh off the back of a tough weekend at his home track of Magny-Cours, Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) took home two top ten finishes as the European season came to a close and will be hoping for improvements in Argentina. Heading to South America on even footing with the rest of the field, the tall Frenchman will be the third rider on the grid who has raced in Argentina before, so the experience won’t fully be a new one.
Three new faces will be welcomed onto the WorldSBK grid in Argentina as Maximilian Scheib steps in as a replacement for Jordi Torres at MV Agusta Reparto Corse, whilst Gabriele Ruiu takes on the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki in place of Yonny Hernandez and Florian Marino will don the TripleM Honda World Superbike Team leathers, in place of PJ Jacobsen. Scheib is a race winner from the European Superstock 1000 Championship, finishing runner up this season and will be racing on his home continent as he hails from Chile in South America. Whilst 18 year old Ruiu has been impressing in STK1000 with top eight finishes this season, and sticking with the same team he will already be comfortable in his surroundings. Frenchman Marino is a consistent top six finisher in STK1000 and brings vast amounts of experience.
Make sure you don’t miss the San Juan debut this weekend as WorldSBK prepares to take to the 4.2km track. Action kicks off at 09:45LT (GMT -3) for Free Practice one on Friday, before the battle for pole begins on Saturday at 13:30 ahead of Race One at the later time of 16:00. Lights go out for Race Two at 16:00.
Argentinean Adventure For KRT
Just two weeks after KRT rider Jonathan Rea won an unprecedented fourth WorldSBK riders’ title in succession, Jonathan, his team-mate Tom Sykes and the entire KRT squad will head to Argentina for the very first South American round in the series’ history.
Rea and Sykes will enjoy their historic experience of the all-new El Villicum circuit on Friday the 12th of October, when they get to lap the 4.266km circuit on their Ninja ZX-10RRs. Racedays will follow on Saturday the 13th of October and Sunday the 14th. Both WorldSBK races are scheduled to start at 16.00, local time.
Even after quadruple champion Jonathan extended his all-time WorldSBK race-winning total to 68 in France last time out, and Tom extended his all-time Superpole record to 47, there is a lot to play for at this exciting new round on the WorldSBK calendar.
Jonathan has stated that his intention is to keep winning races and aims to beat his own record of 556 points in a single championship season. The long-standing record of 17 race wins in a single season can also be reached or surpassed by Rea, with four races left to run and 14 race wins to his credit so far.
On the eve of the Argentinean weekend, 2013 world champion Tom Sykes has secured 34 career race wins, all for Kawasaki. After recovering from an injury suffered during the summer break Tom has made a return to podium form, hence he will be looking to secure his second victory of the season this weekend.
Another important aim for all the Kawasaki riders in Argentina is to ensure that Kawasaki wraps up the Manufacturers’ Championship at this round. Kawasaki currently has a championship lead of 87, with a maximum of 100 points left for any manufacturer capable of winning all four remaining races.
The first ever Argentinean round could arguably be the most open and unpredictable of the season, as none of the WorldSBK teams or riders have competed at the brand new facility near the city of San Juan before. Having just been completed, none of the teams have any previous El Villicum circuit data to work from, making tyre choice and machine set-up a completely level playing field for all.
Rookie WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) has a firm grip on second place in the independent riders’ rankings right now, as he sits tenth in the overall standings.
Racing in Argentina will be an emotional experience for Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) as El Villicum is his home round. He will be looking to put in a season-best result - better than the eighth place he scored at Assen.
Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is one place behind Mercado in the current rankings, in 16th place. A new rider will join the Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki squad for this race, teenager Gabriele Ruiu, who has been running a Ninja ZX-10RR for the team in STK1000 this season.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really excited; firstly to go to a new track and to visit South America for the first time. It is great for the championship and also really nice to visit a new country with WorldSBK. Of course, since Magny Cours I have not had much time to digest winning the championship but I am extremely happy and proud of our efforts to date this season. But the season is not over and we are going to attack this race weekend like any other. We will try to put celebrations on ice until the end of the season. We won’t have too much set-up data this weekend so we will start FP1 with a blank sheet of paper. Fortunately our Ninja ZX-10RR has a great base setting so it is up to me to learn the track fast, and hopefully enjoy it. I am looking forward to meeting all the Argentinean fans.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “This is a new experience for us and we will see how we go when get there. I got a podium last time but I am a little bit disappointed about race two in France. We had two different set-ups on the bike in the two races and one did things better than the other. It was good information and it should help us to be strong in Argentina. It will be a kind of clean slate this weekend but I think Kawasaki will be as prepared as anybody, if not better prepared. I am looking forward to going to that part of the world and it will be a new adventure for everybody. I have seen some overhead pictures of the layout and it looks good. It will look even better if I get two race wins! We are going there with a positive attitude.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team ready to debut in Argentina for the penultimate round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship
After taking a podium in its last European outing at Magny Cours (France), the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to make its debut in Argentina for the penultimate round of the year, hosted at the newly-built Villicum circuit near San Juan. The track, located in the Northwest area of the country, was completed recently and is met with great curiosity by Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri.
Both riders proved their ability to adapt quickly to new tracks, and they will try to make the most of the round to hunt for wins and podiums. Davies (335 points) and Melandri (250 points) are currently second and fifth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati will resume action Friday, October 12th, at 09:45 local time (CET -5) for the first free-practice session.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)
"It feels good to head to Argentina, it's always exciting to get out of our reach and go to new tracks on the calendar, especially in a place we've never been before. The track looks quite fun to ride, but we need to spin a few laps first. Its anti-clockwise layout seems also physically ideal, given the conditions of my right shoulder, but we just have to wait and see. I tried to give the shoulder time to recover in between races while also keeping it active and well stretched. We've been learning a bit in the last couple of races and we'll try to translate it into this new challenge. I'm really looking forward to see the circuit."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)
"This is a highly anticipated round for us. It's been a while since we last raced on a new track, and it's always fun to discover unexplored places. On paper, it's a beautiful circuit. There's a good chance we will all struggle with grip early on as the track is new, but the lap times will improve constantly. Once we get closer and closer to the limit, we'll see the level of the competition. Personally, I'm curious and highly motivated. We want to put Magny Cours behind us and get back on the podium right away."
Next stop Argentina for Pata Yamaha's Van Der Mark and Lowes
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team head south of the equator for the first ever WorldSBK round in Argentina this weekend. The recently completed Circuito San Juan Villicum plays host to Round 12 of the 2018 FIM World Superbike Championship and both Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes head to Argentina determined to mark their South American debut with strong results in the penultimate round of the season.
Van der Mark heads across the South Atlantic looking for this first race win since Donington Park, where he did the double earlier in the season. The Pata Yamaha rider has had a strong second half to the season, with three podium finishes in the last four races, but a third victory has so far eluded him.
The 25-year-old currently lies third in the championship standings and trails second-placed Chaz Davies by just 26 points, a gap he is keen to close further this weekend as he hunts for that elusive third race win.
Lowes heads to Argentina determined to revitalise his 2018 championship campaign, after two difficult rounds in Portugal and France. A crash in the opening race last time out in France robbed him of a points scoring finish, but the 28-year-old Briton bounced back with an intelligent ride to seventh place in Race 2 to salvage his Magny-Cours weekend.
Lowes is confident that he can turn things around this weekend in San Juan, a track that none of the WorldSBK regulars have any previous experience of, and rediscover the form that has seen him finish on the podium three times already this season, including his first race win in Brno back in June.
Located on the outskirts of Albardón, the Circuito San Juan Villicum runs anticlockwise and features 11 left and 8 right hand corners along its 4.266km length. The track is adjacent to the iconic Route 40 road, which runs for 5,000km from the north to the south of Argentina along the length of the Andes. Construction of the track was started in 2016, but work was only completed earlier this year and this weekend's WorldSBK round will be the first international event to be held at the circuit.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd - 309 Points
"I can't wait to get this WorldSBK weekend in Argentina started. It's the first time for me in South America and, of course, the first time we will race at this track. From what I've seen the layout looks pretty good and I can't wait to get started there on the R1. It's going to be a interesting Friday because nobody has any experience of this track and no data either. I'm confident that, with the help of the team, I can get up to speed quickly. The double at Donington was so long ago now, so the goal in these last two rounds has to be to return to the top step of the podium at least once."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th - 213 Points
"This will be my first visit to Argentina and the first WorldSBK race weekend at the Villicum circuit, so it's a clean slate for everyone. I'm looking forward to having a look around, but we won't get a real feel for the track until we roll out for the first free practice session on Friday. It's going to be a lot of hard work on Friday as we try and get ahead of the game and put ourselves in a strong position for the races on Saturday and Sunday. I feel like I rode better than was reflected in my results in France and I'm confident that I can finish the season with good results in the final two rounds, starting this weekend in Argentina."
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team Ready for Argentina Adventure
Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina
The Circuito San Juan Villicum will host its inaugural round of the World Superbike Championship, Round 12 of the 2018 season. As a new venue for the entire grid, the circuit presents a level playing field with no previous setup data for teams to work from.
Both Leon Camier and Jake Gagne are looking to build off their pace in France, where they improved on their CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines each session.
Camier is expecting a busy weekend of setup work without any previous reference for riding at the track. The opening sessions will be crucial for understanding the direction for the remainder of the weekend. For Gagne, the Circuito San Juan Villicum offers a chance to learn with the rest of the field, rather than trying to catch up to years of previous experience.
Riders will get their first taste of the circuit on Thursday during the track walk, but Villicum looks set to present a sizeable challenge with its 19 corners and 1 kilometre long straight. The eight right hand corners and 11 lefts present a mix of fast and flowing corners, such as Turn 5, and tight technical sections as from Turn 13 to 16.
The twelfth round of the WorldSBK championship commences with Free Practice 1 at 0945 local time (GMT -3) on Friday. Race 1, the first ever race at Villicum, will begin at 1600 local time on Saturday, while Race 2 on Sunday starts at 1600.
Leon Camier 2
I’m looking forward to getting the weekend started after finding some more lap time and direction with the bike in Race 2 in France. Fingers crossed we can carry on and keep improving. Obviously it’s a new track so it is difficult to know where we will be at the minute. Until we start the weekend and figure it out, it’s an unknown for everyone. There are lots of things to sort out like gearing, electronics and there are no references for anything, a lot to learn in the first few sessions. No one has ridden on the track before so we need to see how the track holds up, what tyre life is like. Everything is an unknown, it’s going to be a tricky weekend but the same for everyone.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Jake Gagne 45
Crazy to think we’re already almost to the end of 2018. Argentina is going to be an exciting round no doubt. Being a brand new circuit for the whole paddock it should make for an interesting weekend. There will be lots to learn from FP1 but I’m excited for the challenge. I’m hoping we will be able to get a feel for the new circuit as quickly as possible and I think the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will like the new challenge. The team has been working very hard so I hope to make some more good steps forward and close the gap to the front!
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Argentina, a new round for everyone. I think we are well prepared after a solid weekend in Magny Cours with Leon. The bike is in a proper window and hopefully we can get and find his momentum from FP1 onwards. It will be another challenge for Jake, but he has learned many tracks this year and everyone else will also be learning alongside him. The general feeling is the same: it will be an adventure, as no one really knows what to expect or what is going to happen. Set up wise we have a general suspension and electronic setting to use. The team and I are excited, let’s go!”
New horizons for the Gulf Althea BMW team
Rome (Italy), Tuesday 9 October 2018
A brand-new circuit on Argentinian soil awaits the Gulf Althea BMW team and rider Loris Baz this coming weekend.
The penultimate 2018 Superbike World Championship round will take place at the newly built Autódromo El Villicum, located in Argentina’s San Juan province, the facility only completed in recent weeks. The Superbikes will therefore inaugurate this brand-new South American circuit, the teams and riders all very curious to see it.
BMW rider Baz is excited to experience a new track, and seeing as nobody has any previous experience of it, riders will compete on something of a level playing field in Saturday and Sunday’s races.
Heading into this penultimate round, the Frenchman places eleventh in the general standings with 115 points; solid results in the final rounds could see him improve his overall position though, with the ninth- and tenth-placed riders currently just a few points ahead of him.
“Just two rounds to go… It will be interesting to ride at a new circuit this weekend, I hope everything’s OK as it was a bit of a rush for them to be ready in time I think. But I enjoy learning new tracks, so I’m excited to see it. No-one has any references so at least we all start on the same page. I hope the track suits the bike and that we can work well at San Juan. It’s not easy, but we’ll continue to fight for the best possible results… Let’s see what we can do.”
Marino replaces Jacobsen at Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
For the two remaining rounds of the 2018 FIM World Superbike Championship, Frenchman Florian Marino will replace PJ Jacobsen in the Triple M Honda World Superbike Team.
With the 2018 season drawing to a close, Jacobsen and the team parted ways by mutual agreement. The best result they achieved together this season was in Race 2 at Thailand, where the American rider took tenth place.
Jacobsen’s departure has paved the way for Marino to make his debut in the WorldSBK class debut this weekend at Argentina’s Circuito San Juan Villicum on the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
For the past four seasons, the 25-year-old Frenchman has participated in the European Superstock 1000 championship where he has claimed six rostrums from twenty-two starts.
I would like to say thank you to PJ for his professional attitude and his efforts to help us improving the bike this season. Unfortunately, it turned out that we were not able to give him what he needed to be competitive and so we decided to go our separate ways on amicable terms. I wish him all the best for the future.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
PJ Jacobsen 99
Thanks to the Triple M Honda World Superbike Team for giving me the opportunity to compete in the WorldSBK championship this season. We tried hard, but unfortunately things didn’t work out as we had planned so we agreed to go our separate ways. I wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and the future.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
Florian Marino 51
I am really thankful to Triple M Honda for giving me this opportunity. I already know the Team Manager Manuel Cappelletti well, so I know I will feel welcome in the team. I'm looking forward to these two races and having the chance to test myself in the WorldSBK class, it's a big challenge as I'll have to learn a completely new motorcycle, but I'll take things step by step.
Manufactures Profiles for Circuito San Juan Villicum
Have a read of how bikes have debuted around WorldSBK tracks in the past
Motorland Aragon was the first new track introduced in this decade. The inaugural MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship races were held here on the 19th of June, 2011.
The 2011 season will be remembered for Carlos Checa’s dominance with his Ducati. However in the first race at Aragon he crashed out, leaving Melandri (Yamaha) to fight off the Aprilias of Max Biaggi and Leon Camier and winning Race 1. Kawasaki were yet to find their best form and Tom Sykes was fifth in race one. BMW recorded a trio of finishes in eighth, ninth and 10th, with Ayrton Badovini, Leon Haslam and Troy Corser. It was a bleak day for Honda, as the only rider for the Japanese manufacturer, Ruben Xaus, was 16th after an off-track excursion.
In Race 2 Aprilia came out victorious with Biaggi, whilst Yamaha completed their good weekend with Melandri in second and Checa secured a podium for Ducati in third. A good variety of manufacturers were represented in the top five as Michel Fabrizio was fourth for Suzuki and Joan Lascorz fifth for Kawasaki.
The following year it was the turn of Moscow, on the 26th of August 2012.
Moscow Raceway, Russia: 2012 was a season long battle between Tom Sykes (Kawasaki), Max Biaggi (Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (BMW), and the championship was decided at the very last race by only half of a point in favour of Biaggi.
The races in Russia were a good example of this championship battle, as in Race 1 Sykes won from Melandri and Biaggi. Ducati had to settle for a seventh with Niccolo Canepa, whilst Honda were further down the road with Hiroshi Aoyama in 13th.
In Race 2 the BMW of Marco Melandri came out as the winner, while Tom Sykes took the runner up spot for Kawasaki. Biaggi was out after a crash with Leon Haslam, and Chaz Davies held the Aprilia flag high, finishing in third. Just like at Aragon the year before, we had five manufacturers represented in the top five: Carlos Checa was fourth for Ducati and Leon Camier fifth for Suzuki. Honda managed a seventh with Rea, despite an accident after a rival highsided in front of him.
Istanbul Speed Park, Turkey: Entered the calendar in 2013 on the 15th of September, in a year marked by Tom Sykes and Kawasaki dominance.
In the very first race there however, it was the Aprilia of Eugene Laverty that took the win, as Melandri was second for BMW and Sykes third for Kawasaki. Honda recorded a ninth and 10th with Leon Haslam and Michel Fabrizio. It was one of the darkest days in Ducati’s history, with no bikes from Bologna reaching the finish line in both races.
In Race 2 Laverty won again for Aprilia, as the Italian factory also got a second bike on the podium in third with Guintoli, as Sykes took second for Kawasaki. BMW were just off the podium with Melandri in fourth, and Honda finished in eighth with Leon Haslam.
Sepang, Malaysia: Welcomed in 2014, on the 8th of June.
Aprilia were dominant that day as they secured a double podium in both races with Melandri and Guintoli. Suzuki were able to take the third spot in Race 1 with Eugene Laverty, while Chaz Davies was fourth for Ducati and Rea 6th for Honda, followed by his team-mate Leon Haslam. David Salom was ninth for Kawasaki and Leon Camier managed a top 10 finish for BMW.
In Race 2, Sykes was third for Kawasaki behind the Aprilias. To find another manufacturer we have to scroll down to sixth: Rea for Honda, followed by Laverty on a Suzuki and Chaz Davies for Ducati. Leon Camier wasn’t able to repeat his Race 1 performance, ending up 12th for BMW.
Buriram, Thailand: The most recent new addition to the calendar.
On to 2015, the first year of Rea riding for Kawasaki. After the first weekend in Phillip Island, Rea was level on points with Leon Haslam (Aprilia). This was the last time Rea was not alone at the top spot of the Championship…for three years! After a dominant double in Buriram, which he tackled for the first time on the weekend of the 22nd of March, he took the Championship lead and kept it until the end of the 2017 season.
Haslam was second for Aprilia in both races, whilst Guintoli took fifth for Honda, Alex Lowes sixth for Suzuki and Matteo Baiocco seventh for Ducati in Race 1, and 8th in Race 2. Chaz Davies - the reference rider for Ducati - had a bad day, crashing in both races. BMW’s best result in the first weekend at Buriram was a 14th in Race 1 and a 13th in Race 2.
The Buriram 2015 weekend marked the final presence of three-time World Champion Troy Bayliss: he was 9th and 11th for Ducati after having qualified in 7th, at almost 46 years of age.
WorldSSP: It’s crunch time
Two rounds remain for the intermediate class and everything is on the line
In one of the most anticipated battles out on track each weekend, the FIM Supersport World Championship is preparing for the penultimate round of the season at Circuito San Juan Villicum, and with the first chance for the title to be won, there’s a lot on the line. But as they head into the unknown at the new 4.2km circuit, the warriors are heading in on an even battleground and it could be even more unpredictable than ever.
For main title protagonist Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) a new track will put him on equal footing to his rivals, as he has spent the season learning new tracks in his rookie year. With an 11 point lead in the standings, a win with Jules Cluzel (NRT) finishing in sixth would be enough for him to secure the title, but a lot needs to happen before the German can get to that point. Unable to match the pace of Cluzel in France, Cortese’s six podiums and two wins will stand him in a strong position for a fight in Argentina.
Heading back from his home round on a high, Jules Cluzel was on sensational form at Magny-Cours and still has the title in his sights. Heading into the penultimate round of the season as determined as ever, the Frenchman has had a turbulent season but has taken six podiums and four wins so far. Facing a new challenge in Argentina, he will have the title in the back of his mind throughout.
Third in the championship standings, Randy Krummenacher (BARDHAL Evans Bros. WorldSSP Team) was strong in the last flyaway round of the season – winning the Thai race. But the visits to Europe have been a struggle for the Swiss rider, as he last finished on the podium at TT Circuit Assen back in May. With a string of top five finishes, he has always been close to the top, but has missed that final stretch. Looking for redemption this season, he is still in with a shout for the crown and could throw up some surprises.
Following a recent surge in form, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) has been able to take two back to back wins in WorldSSP, but faced heartbreak in France. Crashing on the final lap after an overtake from his team-mate, he was able to re-join and take 13th position in the race, which keeps him in the championship battle. Heading into the unknown, he will be out to regain his form after a difficult final European Round.
Follow all the WorldSSP action from 12th – 14th October from the MOTUL Argentinean Round, with lights going out for the race on Sunday at 14:30LT (-3 GMT).
Mahias and Caricasulo Target the Podium on Argentina Debut
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are in South America at the all-new Circuito San Juan Villicum this weekend, for the first ever FIM World Supersport race in Argentina. Federico Caricasulo heads across the South Atlantic determined to make amends for Magny-Cours, where a crash on the final lap of the race saw the Italian pick up only three points and drop to fourth place in the championship standings. Lucas Mahias enjoyed a more successful race in front of his home crowd at Magny-Cours, overcoming an injury to finish on the podium, a feat he has every intention of repeating this weekend in Argentina.
Mahias, now fully recovered from the injury sustained in a warm-up crash on Sunday morning in Magny-Cours, is looking forward to racing at the 4.276km El Villicum circuit for the first time, and without the added pressure of performing in front of his fellow countrymen.
The Frenchman is out of the running for the title fight, but is determined to see out his time as the reigning World Supersport Champion with two strong results in the final two races of the season, with another race win his clear target in Argentina.
Mathematically it is still possible for Caricasulo to be crowned as the 2018 World Supersport Champion, but with a 37-point deficit to current series leader Sandro Cortese with just two races remaining, it's an outside chance at best.
Like his GRT Yamaha teammate, Caricasulo's focus this weekend in Argentina is on the race win rather than the championship. The Italian has already racked up five podium finishes this season, including wins in Misano and Portimão, and heads into the Argentina weekend determined to increase his victory tally.
The 4.276 Circuito San Juan Villicum is located on the outskirts of Albardón and is comprised of 11 left and 8 right hand corners, which are tackled in an anticlockwise direction. The circuit is adjacent to the world renowned Route 40, which runs alongside the Andes mountain range for 5,000km and connects the north of Argentina to the south.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 6th - 119 Points
"The ankle injury is improving everyday, so I'll be back to full fitness for the Argentina race. I'm excited about the weekend ahead; it's a new track, a new country and my first ever visit to South America. It promises to be a busy weekend, as we learn the track and work to find a good set-up on the bike, but I'm looking forward to it. It will be good to race without the pressure of performing in front of my home crowd this weekend, but the aim remains the same; to finish on the podium once again and hopefully, be able to challenge for the win."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 132 Points
"I'm looking forward to getting back on track in Argentina after the disappointment of the Magny-Cours race. I want to be back on the top here this weekend and I think this is the perfect place to do it. It's a new track for everybody, so there is some learning and set-up work to be done, but we've been fast from the first day at every race so far this season and I'm confident we can do the same here in Argentina. The goal is to be at the front of the race on Sunday, challenging for the win once again."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"We go into this weekend's race in Argentina with Federico now 37 points behind the championship leader with only two races to go, so the target is very clear; we need to win here and in the final race in Qatar. We can do no more than this, and while it may not be enough to put us back in the title battle, we intend to go on fighting right until the end. Argentina is a new track for everyone, but Federico and Lucas have been fast at every circuit and in all conditions this season. I'm confident that the same will be true here, especially as it's a very technical track where experience will count for a lot. The team is strong, our package from Yamaha has proved competitive every weekend and now our position and strategy is very clear. I expect to see some exciting racing this weekend, with both of our riders at the forefront."
High Hopes For Kawasaki Riders In Argentina
The penultimate round of the 2018 WorldSSP championship will take place this coming weekend at an all new venue, in what will be the series’ first visit to South America. Kawasaki Puccetti Racing pairing Hector Barbera and Hikari Okubo will team up for the third time this year after Hector’s inclusion in the championship from the Portimao round onwards.
Both Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders took top ten finishes last time out in France, with Hikari just ahead of his team-mate, and in ninth place. They each aim for even better results this time around, with Hikari chasing at least an eighth place to record his best ride of the season. Barbera has scored tenth in each of his two races so far.
In one important respect this weekend could be the most unpredictable of the whole year. None of the 23 WorldSSP riders who are now converging on the city of San Juan, and the nearby circuit of El Villicum, have competed there before. The venue is entirely new for 2018. With 19 corners crammed into its 4.266km length, a lap of El Villicum is expected to be a particular test of concentration for the WorldSSP regulars.
In the championship standings Hikari is 13th, and former MotoGP rider Barbera already up to 19th, despite most of his rivals having ten opportunities to score points in 2018 compared to Hector’s two.
After the eagerly anticipated Argentinean round the championship will move onto the final venue of Losail, in Qatar. The season culminates on Saturday the 27th of October, under floodlights, as is by now traditional.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I didn’t feel too happy in the last race because I couldn’t get the kind of good result I wanted. I am really feeling better now. We got some new problems in France last time so we understand that we need to make more of a step. At the next round in Argentina everyone will be a first time rider, so I think it’s a big change. It will be fun to ride a new circuit.”
Hector Barbera stated: “I am really confident that I will be able to make a step forward in Argentina and get better results compared to the last two races at Portimao and Magny Cours. For us, Argentina will be a very important round. The racetrack will be new for everyone so it will be easier for us to understand what level we have reached. The team is working very well and now we have more data to work with. We are getting closer to a bike setup that suits my riding style. Every time I get out on track I learn something new and I improve. I can’t wait to get to the circuit and start working again.”
The importance of the El Villicum round for Argentinean rider Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) is difficult to understate, as he will have extra pressure and huge motivation this weekend. His team-mate Christian Stange will be back in action and Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is another Kawasaki full season rider aiming for his best result of the year this weekend.
Recent WorldSSP300 podium scoring rider Glenn van Straalen has taken over the WorldSSP ride in the EAB antwest Kawasaki team at this coming round. Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer) wrapped up the ESS Championship at the last round and - as he only competes in the European rounds - he will not ride in Argentina.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda ready for World Supersport debut in Argentina
Posted on 10th October 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda take a step into the unknown for the penultimate round of the FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend at the all new Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina.
With no set-up data for any rider to refer to at the San Juan track, CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Kyle Smith is hoping to get his South American debut off to a strong start in Friday ‘s Free Practices.
Smith said: “I’m very excited to go to a new track. I want to start the weekend off better than last week in France where it didn’t go very smoothly and hopefully we can be fighting up at the front in Argentina.”
Teammate Peter Sebestyen goes into the Motul Argentinian round on the back of his first World Supersport points scoring finish last time out in France and is looking forward to familiarising himself with the new 4.276km circuit.
Sebestyen said: “I’m really curious about the new track. It’s always fun to discover a new circuit. In Magny Cours I really enjoyed the race weekend we improved a lot and finally I scored my first points. I don’t have more pressure on me because of the points and now I would like to concentrate on my riding style and not on the results. We should try out some suspension and balance modification to get the best feeling on the bike but we are on a really good path with Kor and Matia so better results will come in time. Of course, I have already checked all the information about Autodromo el Villicium. On paper I like the layout and the lines, I think it’s good for my style and for Honda’s style as well. Anyway, the first day will be very important to find the good setup as soon as possible and get the rhythm to make a good qualification and race.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “So we are going to a new track, a new country and a new challenge. I’m excited for us because there will be a level playing field. Peter scored his first points in Magny Cours and comes here in a confident frame of mind. For him it could be a big chance to shine because everybody is riding their bikes here for the first time. He’s had some time on our bike now so I think he could go even better than he did at Magny Cours. I expect him to go from strength to strength to the end of the season and we are looking forward to a successful 2019 together.”
“Kyle had a difficult Magny Cours with three crashes in practice and lost out on a huge amount of track time so it was a credit to the team that we were able to finish eighth. Again, a new track that I think will favour Kyle and obviously we expect a strong performance from him in Qatar. So we’ll do some more development work for us with MecTronik and obviously we are developing the package for every Honda team in 2019. It’s a big thing for all of us and we are really looking forward to it.”
World Supersport action kicks off at Circuito San Juan Villicum with Free Practice One on Friday at 10:40 (local time).
16 things you need to know before the MOTUL Argentinian Round
As WorldSBK prepares for it’s debut, check out our facts and stats
1. Circuito San Juan Villicum is the 48th track the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship have ridden around. The last addition was Buriram, introduced in 2015.
2. Argentina will host a World Superbike race weekend for the first time in history. It’s the 24th country to host the championship.
3. The World Superbike Championship is the first world-class series to race around San Juan.
4. Three Argentinian riders have started at least one World Superbike race in the history of the Championship: Nestor Amoroso (Monza 1993), Leonardo Esteban (Misano 1994) and Leandro Mercado (racing since 2012).
5. Four riders on the grid have won the new races introduced in this decade. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the winner of the first ever race held at Aragon, 2011 and in Sepang, 2014. Whilst Tom Sykes (Kawaskai Racing Team WorldSBK) won in Moscow in 2012, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) won in Istanbul in 2013 and world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) won in the opening race at Buriram in 2015.
6. A win in Race 1 at San Juan for Rea would be an historic one as he would equal the all-time record sequence of wins. The record is nine consecutive wins and was set by Colin Edwards from Laguna Seca/2 to Imola/2 in 2002 and by Neil Hodgson from Valencia/1 to Oschersleben/1 in 2003 (first 9 races of the season).
7. A double by Rea would be equally important, as he would reach 55 wins for Kawasaki, equalling the all time record for a single manufacturer set by Carl Fogarty with Ducati.
8. Jonathan Rea has declared he wants to beat his own season points record set last year at 556. Currently sitting on 470, he needs three wins out of four and and an additional fourth place.
9. If he took two wins from the next four races, Rea could equal his personal best set last year of 16 wins in a season. This puts him just one win away from Doug Polen’s record of wins: 17 which was set in 1991.
10. Rea won’t be able to equal the season record of podiums this year of 25. This was set by Colin Edwards in 2002, and Rea could fall two short. But he can reach his second personal best of 23: he secured 24 podiums in 2017 and 23 in 2015 and 2016 respectively, which are the second and third all time podium finishes.
11. The 2018 world champion qualified in second at Magny-Cours for the third time in a row. With another second position in qualifying this weekend, his career count of seconds could become the double of his pole positions tally: 32 seconds to 16 poles.
12. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) approaches the final part of the season in third place on the standings, with four podiums in the last five races run. If he holds on to his third place, he will achieve the best finishing position in the Championship for a Yamaha rider since 2011, when Marco Melandri was the runner-up behind Carlos Checa (Ducati).
13. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) faces the opposite task compared to van der Mark: currently sitting in fourth in the standings, he has to fight to gain a top three spot. Since 2012 - when he finished second to Max Biaggi by just half of a point - he has always finished in the top three.
14. If Rea, Davies and Sykes finished the season as the top three in the championship standings, it would be the fourth successive season these three have take the top three championship spots.
15. Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty are set for their 150th start in Race 2 at San Juan. So far 28 riders have made it to that milestone in WorldSBK history. For Melandri, Race 2 will also be his 50th for Ducati and for Laverty his 100th for Aprilia.
16. There is an iconic milestone in sight for Ducati: their next podium finish will be their 888th. The Ducati 888 - raced from 1989 to 1995 - is the most successful model in the team’s history with 69 WorldSBK wins, spanning from Jerez 1990/1 (Raymond Roche) to Estoril 1993/2 (Carl Fogarty).
Race ready: WorldSBK welcomed to Argentina
Pre-round press conference held ahead of inaugural weekend
WorldSBK was welcomed to Argentina in style at Casa del Gobierno de la Provincia de San Juan
Anticipation is continuing to build as the MOTUL Argentinian Round is just around the corner, and the local San Juan government welcomed the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship this morning in a pre-round press conference at Casa del Gobierno de la Provincia de San Juan.
2018 world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and home hero Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) were introduced to Dr Sergio Uñac, Governor of San Juan and Jorge Chica, the secretaty of sport for San Juan, amongst other officials. Able to express their delight as the series prepares to visit its 49th circuit, they received a warm reception from local members of the press. Alongside series executive director Daniel Carrera and Nicolas Demaria from title sponsor Motul, they are preparing for one of the biggest sporting events the region has ever seen, and the San Juan province are eager for the weekend to get underway in South America.
2018 world champion Jonathan Rea expresses his delight at the series debut in Argentina: “Firstly let me say thank you very much to WorldSBK, local government, organisers, builders, everyone who has made this event possible. I have just arrived and it looks incredible, a very challenging circuit with elevation changes and I’m really excited to race. But mostly I’m really excited to be in Argentina, it’s my first time in South America and I want to say all the people I have met so far have been so nice and I hope that Argentinean hospitality will spread to all guests and that we can bring many people to the circuit.”