2018 San Juan Villicum Saturday Press Releases

Press releases from the organizers and teams after qualifying and race 1 in Argentina:

#ARGWorldSBK– Day 2: Sensational Rea makes it nine in a row in first Argentina race

The champion matches the best winning streak in WorldSBK history

Not even the wind or the rain could stop Rea in Argentina

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has made history once again at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, winning the first ever race of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship on South American soil in authoritative fashion. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and a scintillating Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) completed the Race One podium. With Rea’s win, Kawasaki have now officially won the manufacturers title for the fourth year in a row.

After being clearly outpaced in qualifying by the veteran Italian rider, Rea shot out with a vengeance at the lights, taking the clean line through turns 1 and 2 and quickly opening a gap with the riders behind. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) quickly moved into third, with good starts from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) also pushing them up the ranks. There was disappointment for the home fans however, as Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) crashed out whilst riding inside the top ten.

Rea’s prediction on Friday was that the race would be decided inside the last 3-4 laps, with big questions marks over how the World Superbike machines would respond to 21 laps around the pristine Argentinian track. But if anything, the champion was more dominant than ever here, riding at a breathtakingly consistent pace with barely any laps above the 1’40 benchmark, even in the final laps of the race.

With Rea untouchable and Melandri sitting comfortably in second, all eyes were set on the scrap for third position. There’s no lack of passing points at the stunning Argentinian circuit, and that showed in the first race held here: Laverty moved past Sykes in lap 5 on the back straight, whilst a fourway tussle behind for fifth saw Lowes fall back behind Razgatlioglu, Davies and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) in short succession.

The four caught up to Laverty and Sykes shortly after: the Turkish rookie bested Sykes in lap 13 and the Aprilia man one lap later, with Davies crashing and skidding out as he also attempted to pass Sykes, with raindrops making an appearance at the midway point of Race One.

With Rea crossing the line a full nine seconds ahead of Melandri, a fantastic Razgatlioglu managed to keep hold of third and clinch his second World Superbike podium position, with Fores climbing to fourth in the penultimate lap. Laverty was fifth at the flag, with Sykes behind in sixth and Lowes crossing the line in seventh.

A difficult race for Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) saw him cross the line in eighth position, with Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) managing to outsmart Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) at the final turn to steal ninth position.

Special mention for the three WorldSBK debutants here in Argentina: Florian Marino (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) met the flag in 11th position, with Maximilian Scheib (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in 13th and Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing) in 14th, making the 18-year-old Italian the youngest point scorer in the championship’s history.

Race One closes day two in Argentina and leads us into the final day of the Motul Argentinian Round. What twists and turns will we see in Race Two?

P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

“Unbelievable. I’m so happy and thanks to all the fans who’ve stayed out today as there’s been so many people here. Expectations weren’t so high coming into this race in the middle of the season, but it’s an amazing job by the circuit managers, all the workers – the track is incredible and it’s so fun to ride. Kawasaki gave me a great bike today so thank you to them, it was incredible and I just finished the job they did, so thank you.”

P2 - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)

“It was a very difficult race because it was so windy and Jonny had very quick race pace. The first few laps I struggled with the front tyre but then it started feeling better and I took some risks to try and catch Rea, but there was nothing I could do. I thought second place for me was like a win today – I want to say thanks to the guys in the garage and I’ll try to do better tomorrow.”

P3 - Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Pucetti Racing Team)

“I’m really happy. Friday was a good start, but taking pole position was too hard so we started seventh. We had a lot of fights at the start of the race, but I’m really happy to take the podium and tomorrow will not be easy I know.”

Brilliant Win For Rea With Sykes Sixth

Jonathan Rea (KRT) won a record-equalling ninth WorldSBK race in succession at the all-new Villicum circuit in Argentina today, ensuring that Kawasaki won the Manufacturers’ Championship for the 2018 season. Tom Sykes (KRT) was eventually sixth in race one, having been involved in a battle for the podium places in the early stages. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was third after a great ride through from seventh on the grid.

Under greying skies and in front of an enthusiastic crowd Rea had started from second position on the grid and Sykes fourth after Superpole qualifying.

Rea launched strongly into the downhill first corner and took a lead that he was to enjoy for the entire race, setting a new lap record of 1’39.175 and coming very close to breaking the Superpole record in the process.

High winds were a factor for all riders to deal with and even occasional spots of rain appeared for a time. The threat of heavier rain passed and in the final laps Rea was able to bring it home with an eventual advantage of 9.163 seconds to the second placed rider, Marco Melandri.

For Sykes, a positive start off the line made sure he would be third until lap five, but as the race progressed three riders – including podium finisher Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) - would push ahead and Sykes secured a sixth place.

Tom enjoyed greater pace than his rivals on the last laps and was closing-in before the chequered flag brought the 21-lap race to a conclusion.

In the Manufacturers’ Championship Kawasaki has an unassailable lead of 92 points, with a maximum of 75 points left to play for. This was the fourth Manufacturers’ Championship win in succession for Kawasaki.

The second Villicum race will take place on Sunday the 14th of October, in a 16.00 starting slot, local time in Argentina.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) secured his second podium finish of the season, in confident and committed fashion. Following on from his second place at Donington Park in May, the rookie rider once more made progress at the sharp end of WorldSBK competition. His third place saw him 11.410 seconds from Rea’s winning race time.

Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) qualified strongly but was unfortunate to fall in his home race and no-score. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 12th today and Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) also scored points for 14th.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was an incredible way to do it today. To take the manufacturers’ championship with a race win was really nice. Especially to win for the first time in Villicum and Argentina. It is a technical track, it has got everything. I was always worried about coming here because everyone starts from an equal base. The teams that react the fastest, and make the best setup in a short space of time, are the ones that would do well. There was a lot of side wind today and it was buffeting me around a lot. There were spots of rain at one time and I just tried to convince myself it was not raining. The facilities, the new track, the spectators; it has been a pretty awesome weekend so far.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “We were doing 1’40 flat lap times at the end of the race so the consistency is there or thereabouts. I just feel that we are not getting the best out of it in the early laps. Up until about lap five, certainly. The bike did not feel too far away, really. In the series of changes of direction – and here there are a lot of changes of direction here – I just did not have the confidence to put the bike hard on its side and make the throttle connection. Towards the end of the race my tyres seemed to be staying better than the guys in front were. They had passed me mid-race but in the end we were closing them down again. Congratulations to Kawasaki for winning the Manufacturers’ Championship today.”

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the podium in Race 1 in Argentina with Melandri (2nd), Davies forced to retire after a crash

The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati stepped on the podium in Race 1 today at Villicum (Argentina), home of the twelfth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, thanks to a second-place finished scored by Marco Melandri. The Italian, who took pole position with a record lap in 1:39.012, showed a strong pace also during the race despite difficult track conditions due to wind gusts and light rain, taking his ninth podium of the year.

Chaz Davies, who started from third row after encountering a technical issue during Superpole, rode bravely to catch the group fighting for the podium. The Welshman, however, crashed out during lap 13 while he was in sixth position, fortunately without consequences. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati will resume action Sunday, October 14th, at 11:30 local time (CET -5) for a warm-up session ahead of Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 16:00 local time.

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 2nd

"Today's race was difficult. It was very windy then some drops of rain started to fall, so we had to be a bit careful. Still, our pace was quite competitive. We struggled a little bit with the front in the early laps then we got into a good rhythm, but by then Rea was already a bit too far away. When I realized I couldn't catch up on him and the track was becoming more slippery because of the rain, I played it safe and held my position. Finishing second was the best we could do today, but we'll try to improve tomorrow. Hopefully we'll get a good start from third row, I'm looking forward to having another go at it."

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – DNF

"We were trying to work our way into the race, moving forward and pulling in into the group fighting for the podium, but it's really hard to pass here because the clean racing line is pretty thin. Once I got a good run up on Sykes in the back straight in lap 13, I thought it was the right opportunity to pass him because we were going into one of the cleaner corners, but unfortunately it wasn't clean enough. The rear locked going in and, as I let off the brakes a little bit to regain balance, I just lost the front over the dirt. Looking at the positives, our pace was quite good so we'll have a chance to bounce back tomorrow."

Marco Zambenedetti, Technical Coordinator on track for Ducati Corse

"It was a bittersweet race for us. On the one hand, Marco confirmed his competitiveness on this track after a strong Friday, taking pole position and a brilliant second place in difficult conditions. On the other hand, Chaz was penalized by a technical problem during qualifying and crashed while trying to make up positions. So, we'll work hard as ever to allow both riders to be more competitive tomorrow."

Baz and Gulf Althea BMW ninth in race 1 at El Villicum

San Juan (Argentina), Saturday 13 October 2018

The brand-new Autodromo San Juan El Villicum is hosting the Superbikes for what is the penultimate round of the 2018 Superbike World Championship this weekend. The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team and rider Loris Baz crossed the line ninth in the first of the weekend’s two races.

Superpole1: after a first lap on race rubber, Baz returned to the pits to put in the qualifying tyre. Completing a series of fast laps during the second part of the mini-session, the Frenchman set a best of 1’40.352 that saw him finish in thirteenth position, missing out on entry to SP2 by less than a tenth of a second. A fifth row start then for Loris in race one.

SBK race 1: from thirteenth on the grid, Baz was lying fifteenth at the end of lap one. Making up four places in the opening stages, the Frenchman was up to eleventh by lap six. From there, the BMW rider tried to maintain a good pace, doing what he could to close the gap between him and those immediately ahead. When it started to rain on lap thirteen, he earned another position, to place tenth behind Camier. Pushing in the final phase of the race, the Frenchman managed to pass the Englishman at the very last corner, to cross the line ninth.

Loris Baz

“Today was tough. Unfortunately, in Superpole we missed out on SP2 by just one tenth, which was a pity. In the race, my start was OK but then I came into contact with another rider which meant that others overtook me. It took me a few laps to move back up a few places, after which I tried to maintain a solid pace. I was fighting with Camier all the way to the line, him quicker through certain sections, me through others, and I was finally able to pass him and cross the line ninth. I will try to take advantage of my grid position tomorrow and if I can gain a few seconds in the early stages, I may be able to do more than I did today.”

Argentina Proves a Tough Challenge for Lowes and Van Der Mark


The first ever FIM World Superbike race in Argentina proved a challenging one for the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team's Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark today. Lowes was disappointed with seventh place at the chequered flag, having been heavily involved in the battle for the podium during the early stages of the race. Van der Mark managed to fight his way up to eighth place, having started from the fourth row of the grid, crossing the finish line just behind his teammate.

It was a particularly disappointing result for Lowes, who'd shown both speed and consistency in every session at Circuito San Juan Villicum and started the race from sixth position on the grid, after a solid performance in the earlier Superpole 2 qualifying session.

The Pata Yamaha rider got a good start from the second row, moving up to fourth after an aggressive opening lap but as the race progressed and the rear tyre performance dropped off, the 28-year-old Briton lost contact with the leading group. With the rear tyre spinning under acceleration and unable to match their drive out of the turns, the 28-year-old Briton was forced to let the podium contenders go and settle for seventh place and the points at the line.

Van der Mark started today's 21-lap race from 11th position on the grid, after a difficult qualifying path through both of the earlier Superpole sessions. Two small mistakes meant that the 25-year-old didn't manage to make up as many places as expected in the early stages of the race but, once he had a clear track in front of him, van der Mark's pace was similar to that of the frontrunners.

It was a lonely second half of the race for the Dutchman, who eventually followed his Pata Yamaha teammate across the line to finish eighth and pick up vital championship points. Van der Mark remains third in the championship but has now reduced the deficit to second-placed Chaz Davies from 26 to just 18 points.

Both Lowes and van der Mark are confident of a stronger showing tomorrow in Race 2, which they'll both start from the second row of the grid.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 7th + 15.597

"It was a bit of a frustrating race because I didn't really have the speed I thought I'd have today. We suffered a pretty severe drop off from the rear tyre, which is very strange because tyre preservation is normally one of my stronger points. It was unfortunate because I made a good start and got in a good position, but I couldn't maintain the pace. We'd been fast all weekend, but we seemed to lose our way a little bit in the race today, but then the track has been changing constantly and everyone was even quicker in the race than in practice, so it's really hard to gauge. Even with the tyre dropping off I managed to keep the lap times consistent, which was a positive, but we've obviously got a few areas we need to work on for tomorrow."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 8th + 16.846

"This morning we changed quite a lot on the bike, but it didn't bring the improvements we were expecting and that made Superpole something of a struggle. It's never good to be starting from the fourth row, but it's even worse at this track because at the moment there is only a single clean line, which makes overtaking difficult. I got a reasonable start but then I had some problems shifting in the early laps and that lost me quite a lot of time. But as soon as I had a clear track I was able to increase my pace and start closing the gap to the guys in front of me. It means we can be more positive than we were this morning, because my pace at the end was quite strong and, if we can find some small improvements ahead of Race 2 tomorrow, which I'll start from the second row, then I think we can fight for a top five finish."

Camier battles to tenth in Argentina Race 1

Leon Camier walks away with a tenth place finish as Jake Gagne crashes out while fighting for the top ten.

Saturday in Argentina started well with Jake Gagne ending Free Practice 4 in seventh place, ahead of many of the riders he was set to face in Superpole 1. Times were tight in the following session, Gagne unfortunately forced to settle for fourth and a fourteenth place grid position. Red Bull Honda WorldSBK teammate Leon Camier found time in Superpole 2 with fresh tyres, a 1’40.189 earning him tenth on the grid for Race 1.

From their respective starting positions of tenth and fourteenth, Camier and Gagne both held their ground in the opening corners. The pair settled into their rhythm quickly with the top ten in their sights. Camier had been leading the charge to close the gap to the group ahead, but a moment on lap five dropped him to fourteenth. Unfortunately, the bad luck continued as just a lap later Jake Gagne fell at Turn 5, ending his chances of scoring points.

After the early race incident, Camier rallied and set a series of personal best laps to move back through the field. He soon caught Loris Baz and the two began a heated battle for tenth place, Camier opened up a half second lead with eight laps remaining as he tried to escape. The two battled right until the close of the race, Camier crossing the line in tenth and only 0.047s behind Baz after a late move from the French rider.

With his six points from tenth place, Camier holds 108 championship points and is twelfth in the championship standings, while Gagne remains seventeenth in the riders championship on 51 points.

Race 2 tomorrow will start at 1600 local time (GMT -3), both riders ready to improve their fortunes and show their strong race pace.

Leon Camier 2

It was a pretty tough race. I was having a bit of a battle with van der Mark and he passed me and just stayed beside me so I couldn’t turn in to hit the apex and had nowhere to go as I was on the dirty part of the track. I lost a lot of time there but then came back and got into the rhythm, we did our best laps right at the end of the race. That’s a bit strange so we need to keep working to understand why it’s happening. The bike was feeling about the same as the guys around me, some places I was stronger and some places weaker. I made a couple of little mistakes on the last few laps trying to keep Baz at bay and then he got close enough to put a pass on me. Fair play to him, he made it stick and it was a good move. Still work to do.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Jake Gagne 45

It was about an easy a get off as I could have had, I just slid off so luckily I’m all OK. The race was going OK before that, I didn’t get the best start but I was dicing with a couple of guys before making a couple of little passes stick. I got into my rhythm and then got caught off guard at Turn 5 and maybe opened the gas a little too hard, the rear came around and it just kept going. A weird little clash, but that’s how it goes and we’ll learn from it and see if we can make some improvements for tomorrow. Our goal is the top ten for tomorrow. I felt good today, I was smooth and the bike was working well. There’s a couple of little things we’ll try to improve for tomorrow but overall we were happy with how things were going. That’s racing.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

We didn’t fully deliver on both sides of the garage. It was especially hard for Jake, he was for sure having his best weekend so we had high expectations for him. He pushed a bit too hard on the corner exit and lost the rear, so he was on the limit but I think he can take a lot of positives from it as his race pace was very strong. He will regroup for tomorrow, he needs to stay focused and do the same again as his weekend was really good. For Leon, we had higher expectations before he ran off the track and lost a lot of time and places. From what we saw in FP3 we were hoping for around seventh place so that will be the goal for tomorrow. We learn from today and start again tomorrow.”

Kawasaki secure manufacturers title for fourth consecutive season

Japanese manufacturer take sought after crown once again

The ZX-10RR has continued to dominate throughout the seasons in WorldSBK

With two rounds remaining on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship calendar, Kawasaki have secured the manufacturers world title for the fourth year in a row following another season of stunning domination. Finishing first or second in all but two races of 2018, their title defense was never at risk.

Seven riders have been on track scoring points for the Japanese manufacturer, with 520 points accumulated throughout the season, beating their closest rival Ducati by 92. Despite facing challenges with the new regulations for 2018, riders taming the ZX-10RR beast have impressed in great scathes and the factory outfit of Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK have once again reigning supreme. But it’s not only KRT who have secured a podium for the green conglomerate, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) taking his debut podium finish at Donington Park.

Entering the debut WorldSBK race back in 1988, Kawasaki have been regular podium finishers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but were never able to secure the manufacturers crown until the unstoppable duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea came along. Taking 376 podiums, 125 victories, 120 fastest laps and 80 pole positions overall, Kawasaki are truly making their mark in the WorldSBK history books. With their first victory coming around the Hungaroring in 1988 from France’s Adrian Morillas, the 1990’s welcomed a successful run with Scott Russell. However, their recent surge of results came after signing Tom Sykes in 2012, and from there the success has not stopped.

Another British rider added to their successes, as Jonathan Rea joined the factory in 2015 and has smashed records along the way. Sykes shot them back into success, but Rea was able to add to their tallies, and the combination of the British duo has proven to be a strong one. Helping to take Kawasaki to the top of the manufacturers standings in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – alongside others – they have been Ninjas on their ninjas.

Aiming to top what was a stunning 2017 has proven difficult, but the green machines have been making a good effort at doing so. Fans have seen the ZX-10RR’s on the podium 29 times, with 16 wins and seven pole positions – and there are still two rounds remaining! Alongside some stunning performances from Sykes and Rea, Razgatlioglu has begun to emerge as a new talent following his podium finish, and the wins just keep on coming for the KRT riders.

Overtaking Honda in the all-time win records this season, they firmly have Honda in their sights as they look to overtake their all-time podiums record, as well as equal their world titles at the end of this season. With two rounds left and 100 points on the table, can they end the season on even more of a high? And will anyone bring the fight to the green machines next year?

WorldSSP: Mahias snatches pole in dying seconds at San Juan circuit

GRT one-two in Argentina, with Cortese completing the front row

Mahias continues to come out on top in WorldSSP

Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) claimed his fifth pole position of the FIM Supersport World Championship season and with it the 2018 Tissot Superpole Award, after a fantastic battle with teammate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) in the closing stages of Superpole at the Motul Argentinian Round.

The French rider led from the early stages of the Superpole 2 session at the Circuito San Juan Villicum and successfully defended his lead twice from championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing). With the checkered flag down, it seemed for a moment that Caricasulo might have stolen it at the death with a then-best lap of 1’43.328. But the 2017 World Champion had other plans, moving back into first by 0.302 seconds in the blink of an eye.

Mahias, Caricasulo and Cortese thus complete the front row in Argentina, with Jules Cluzel (NRT) making his way into fourth position and the front of row two. He was followed in qualifying by his own teammate Thomas Gradinger (NRT) in fifth, comfortably his best qualifying performance of his rookie season. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros WorldSSP Team) completes the second row in sixth, with Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) making a Yamaha lockout for the top seven.

Eighth best in qualifying was Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurace Honda), with Hans Soomer (Racedays) and Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing), both through from Superpole 1, also netting their best grid positions of the year in ninth and tenth, respectively. A crash for Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) means that the Italian starts back in eleventh, with Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) down in twelfth.

It’s the penultimate race of the season and the title is still up for grabs! Tune in for tomorrow’s race with lights out at 14:30 local time (17:30 GMT).

Pole Position - Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team)

“It’s good to take the first pole here in Argentina and for sure my teammate helped me because he’s on the front row. I didn’t know if it was a good strategy because I only used one tyre, but finally we finished in first position, so it’s very good.”

Pole Position for Mahias as GRT Yamaha Dominate Qualifying in Argentina


The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team were the dominant force in qualifying at Circuito San Juan Villicum this afternoon. Lucas Mahias secured his fifth pole position of the season in today's Superpole shootout while Federico Caricasulo finished a close second to make it a GRT Yamaha one-two at the front of the grid for the first ever WorldSSP race in Argentina tomorrow.

Mahias and Caricasulo, who finished FP3 this morning in second and third place respectively, went with different strategies in the Superpole 2 qualifying session this afternoon. While Caricasulo went with a traditional one-stop strategy, Mahias opted to stay out on one tyre for the duration of the 15-minute session.

The two GRT Yamaha riders were leading the field by the halfway point in the session but it was Mahias, timing his final run to perfection, who took the honours at the line to secure his fifth pole position of the season and to claim the 2018 Tissot Superpole award with one round still remaining.

The front row start will be critical in tomorrow's race for both Mahias and Caricasulo, as the Circuito San Juan Villicum is very much a single line track at present. While there are many overtaking opportunities around the length of the 4.276km circuit, they all require a rider to move offline onto the much dirtier sections of the newly laid surface, where grip is much harder to find and risk of a crash is increased.

Starting at the front of the grid also means that the two GRT Yamaha riders are less likely to encounter problems with debris being thrown up by riders ahead of them, which has been an issue this weekend as small areas of the tarmac have broken up and left small stones loose on the track surface.

Tomorrow's 19-lap WorldSSP race gets underway at 14.30 local time at the San Juan Villicum circuit.

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P1 - 1:43.026

"Of course, I'd take the win tomorrow over pole position today, but I'm very happy to qualify on pole here in Argentina. It was a strange qualifying because the track here is very dirty, which makes it difficult to get heat into the tyre. I changed the strategy today, running with no stop in the session and using only one tyre. After two laps, with the rear sliding a lot, I was questioning the decision. But I backed off the gas for a couple of laps to let the tyre cool off and then I sat behind my teammate, about three seconds back, and by pushing to catch him I took the pole position. It's good for me and the team, but it's also good for the race to start at the front because, on this track, you only have one line and it's difficult to overtake."

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - P2 - 1:43.328

"I am really happy, because my time in Superpole was done alone and I managed two flying laps with virtually the same lap time. Today we also did a lot of work with the bike, to adapt to the changing track conditions, and we have a good set-up for the race. The track was a little bit better today, more grip and faster, but the stones thrown up by the bikes are still an issue, which is why it's so important we're starting from the front row tomorrow."

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - Team Manager

"It was a perfect qualifying, but that's what we have to do; be first and second whenever it's possible, including tomorrow in the race, the most important part of the weekend. The riders did an incredible job today, but so did the team, who had to adapt the bikes very quickly to compensate for the rapidly changing track conditions here in Argentina. We went with two different strategies in qualifying, with Federico splitting the session into two runs, whereas Lucas opted to stay out on one tyre for the entire time. Each strategy working well, but it was Lucas who just did enough to secure pole position from his teammate. Now we're looking forward to tomorrow's race, where again I am confident we'll have both riders fighting at the front, as they have done in the last few races. Thanks to the team for their hard work and for Yamaha for the incredibly competitive package they provide us with every weekend."


San Juan (Argentina) 13 October 2018

The Superbike and Supersport World Championships are racing at the brand-new “El Villicum” track in the San Juan province of Argentina for the very first time. Although the event was much-discussed in recent months, with doubts as to whether the track and infrastructure would be completed on time, the circuit is as good as finished. The track is 4266 m. in length and comprises 19 corners, 11 of which left-handers and 8 right-handers. Teams and riders alike were keen to discover the track, heading out yesterday for the first practice sessions. The Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider set the second fastest time in session one, before concluding day one in fifth place, securing a place in Superpole 2. At 2.50pm local time today (GMT-3), Randy Krummenacher headed out for the Superpole session, which serves to establish the race grid. The Swiss rider stopped the clock on 1’43.976, scoring a sixth-place finish, so a second row start from him in tomorrow’s 19-lap race, set to kick off at 2.30pm local time.

Krummenacher’s first impressions of the Argentinian track are positive.

#RK21: “This track is really great and very fast. Yesterday we went out for the first time and we had some grip issues for sure, but it’s got better with every exit. Today, compared to yesterday, we’ve all been lapping quicker and are getting a better idea of the track. I’ve worked on the bike with my team, looking for the best set-up and I think we’re at a good point, but I also know we can make another step to get back to the kind of pace we had earlier in the season. Second row isn’t bad and I’ll give it my all to try and finish in the race as well as possible.”

Smith targets top five in Argentina

Posted on 13th October 2018

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda’s Kyle Smith Smith posted the eighth fastest time in Superpole 2 at the inaugural Argentinian World Supersport round at the Circuito San Juan Villicum.

Smith improved his time again by over a second in the afternoon qualifying session and will start tomorrow’s 19-lap race from the third row of the grid.

Smith said: “Positive qualifying I think we struggled a little bit but we’ve worked throughout the weekend and the lap times have dropped. From this morning to this afternoon in qualifying we’ve made a change and it feels better and I think the pace is not too bad for the race tomorrow so if we get a good start I think we can be mixing it.”

Superpole 1 was another frustrating session for Hungarian teammate Peter Sebestyen as he struggled to get his last run and two laps together. Sebestyen improved into the .44s, qualifying in seventeenth place and is confident there is more to come in the race tomorrow.

Sebestyen said: “FP3 was great I was on good form. We did a good lap time improving a lot but in qualifying I made a wrong decision and chose to do two runs. Now I understand I should stay out because my one lap pace is not good enough. I think if I stayed out I could get a better result so I am not happy with the result because I know we can do much better. I’m ok about it because I know that tomorrow we can make much better race pace.”

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “With Kyle this morning we made a change that didn’t quite work out and this afternoon we changed again, not back but back in that direction and obviously we improved a lot. We are in pretty good shape, Kyle always has good race pace and I believe we can challenge for top five. We don’t know this new track, we know it’s not hard on tyres but even so they could still go off. We don’t know what everyone’s real race pace will be as the track evolves all the time with the new surface. We know Kyle can always be strong in the race so it should be exciting.”

“Peter’s third lap on his first run was his best lap and then he pitted. He knows at the moment he is still learning and he is still not really good at putting in that one lap straight out on a new tyre. We had considered leaving him out for the whole session which would probably have been a better tactic for him at this stage in his development but I’m sure he will be challenging in the points again tomorrow and we are looking forward to a good race.”

Race Preparations Complete For Barbera And Okubo

After competing in the first-ever WorldSSP Superpole 1 session at the all-new San Juan Villicum circuit in Argentina today Kawasaki Puccetti Racing pairing Hector Barbera and Hikari Okubo finished 14th and 16th fastest, respectively.

A superb track layout, but a very dusty surface, welcomed the WorldSSP riders in the first practice sessions on Friday the 12th of October, with Barbera 12th and Okubo 17th at that early stage.

Today, after an intense Superpole 1 session, Barbera narrowly missed advancing into Superpole 2, finishing 14th overall. Barbera will now launch off the fifth row of the grid for what will be only his third ever WorldSSP event.

Okubo pushed hard in the first Superpole session, running off track at one point, and finished his pre-race preparations 16th overall. He will start from the sixth row of the grid.

The first WorldSSP race to be held in South America will take place at 14.30 local time tomorrow, for a duration of 19-laps.

Hector Barbera stated: “I think I had a bike to make it into Superpole 2 but anyway I think I can have a good ride in the race tomorrow. This track is fantastic to ride. My feeling is better with every pit exit. I think maybe I did not find a good moment to push, but the bike is better for me and the feeling is coming. I think we have a good race pace and I want to have my best race of the year in this category tomorrow.”

Hikari Okubo, stated: “A difficult day again because the lap time was a bit behind the top riders, so that is a big problem. To finish in 16th was my worst qualifying position so far. I am not happy about that so we need to think again. It is very important to push hard in tomorrow’s race. I will try my best again.”

Christian Stange (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 15th in Superpole 1, just edging out Okubo. Local rider Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 20th on the grid for his home race. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) placed 21st. Glenn van Straalen (EAB antwest Kawasaki) crashed out of contention for a qualifying place in Superpole 1, and starts the race from 23rd position on the grid.

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