Press releases from the teams and organizes after the inaugural Argentinian round of WorldSBK:
#ARGWorldSBK Day 3 - Ten out of ten: Rea extends perfect run with Argentina double
2018 Champion takes ten races on the trot, more than any rider in World Superbike history
Perfect ten for Rea in Argentina
However tough the going gets, he always finds a way to get the job done. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) claimed his fifth consecutive double of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the Circuito San Juan Villicum in sensational fashion. The champion was forced to dig deep to take the Argentinian double ahead of Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team), but now holds another record to his name for the most consecutive wins in a World Superbike season, beating Colin Edwards and Neil Hodgson’s previous streak of nine victories.
The opening laps at the Circuito San Juan Villicum were amongst the most chaotic of the entire 2018 season. Fores was quick off the marks from pole, but his partners on the Race Two front row suffered much worse fates: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) immediately fell to the fringes of the top ten, while Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) crashed out unopposed in lap three whilst riding in second place.
It would be a big understatement to say that Rea’s race start went less smoothly than in Race One. A strong start pushed him up into the top five at the lights, but a succession of mistakes through the end of lap one and the first half of lap two saw him lose positions to Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), nearly falling one further under pressure from Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
The Argentinian fans would not have to wait long for the comeback. Rea saw himself past Davies after the Welshman went in too hot at turn 1, then made good use of the back straight slipstream to edge smoothly past Lowes. A mistake from Razgatlioglu also left the Turkish rookie in the Northern Irishman’s wake. Meanwhile, a bruising battle for fourth saw Davies, Melandri and Lowes exchange places turn after turn.
At the four-lap mark, Fores had already opened a huge three-second gap taking advantage of Rea’s troubled start. This didn’t last: at a rate of nearly a second per lap, Rea caught up with the Spaniard and fought his way through to the front inside lap eight. Fores immediately pounced back at the back straight, but the Kawasaki’s pace was too much on the day and the weekend and, after moving back into the front half a lap later, Rea blasted into the lead and head-first into his tenth consecutive win, unchallenged from that point forwards.
A cool second for Fores means that he is now the official independent riders champion, thanks to his fifth podium of the year. Marco Melandri managed to return to the rostrum after a fantastic race-long duel with Davies, who finished fourth and again increases his gap with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) to 24 points, after the Dutchman ended Race Two in ninth.
Tom Sykes managed to climb back to fifth following a strong second half to his race, with Lowes in sixth and Razgatlioglu back in seventh, after fading in the late stages. An anticlimactic ending to the rookie’s Argentinian round, but he still manages to claim the best points haul of his WorldSBK career over a race weekend.
Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) finished Race Two in eighth, whilst Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) made it into the top ten for only the third time this season. Local hero Leandro Mercado managed to finish in twelfth, after crashing in Race One.
That’s a wrap from San Juan!
P1 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“It’s been a tough day and night, I spent most of last night hugging the toilet, so a massive thanks to Alba, our Performance Manager and also the Clinica Mobile for sorting me out. At least I was able to keep fluids onboard during the race, but I don’t feel so good now though! I want to thank my team, they gave me a great bike this weekend and with a new track for everybody we hit the ground running and figured it out faster than most. Our bike was so good on the tyres at the end of the race and honestly I was just steering it round, so a massive thanks to them – this is dreamy, ten races on the bounce it’s really not normal! It’s mad and I just want to enjoy this moment and it’ll certainly make that long flight home worthwhile.”
P2 - Xavi Fores (BARNI Racing Team)
“I missed the podium so today I was focyused on getting it again after Magny Cours. I started so strongly and was able to keep the pace, and I was pushing so hard but Jonny overtook me and then I kept my rhythm until the end. Really happy for this second place and also for the Independent Championship, and I want to say thanks to my team for the job this season. I’m looking forward to Qatar and I want to finish the season on the podium again.”
P3 - Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati)
“Actually today I’m a bit disappointed because after three or four laps I made a mistake and went wide at Turn 7, and came back on behind Savadori. I then got past the two Yamahas and Chaz was pulling away, but I was pushing so hard to come back and after I saw Xavi but it was impossible to catch him. I’m sad because without the mistake I could’ve gone second and maybe tried to stay with Jonny, but anyway I’m happy for two podiums and one Superpole – so we’re looking good.”
Ten In A Row A New Record For Rea
On the same weekend that Kawasaki won the WorldSBK Manufacturers’ Championship Jonathan Rea (KRT) made another little bit of history today with a new record of ten consecutive race wins. Tom Sykes (KRT) improved through the second 21-lap race in Argentina to secure a top five finish.
After heavy overnight rain the second race day at the all new San Juan Villicum circuit threw up even more unknown challenges for KRT riders Rea and Sykes, as did the hot track temperature of over 50°C at the start of the race.
Rea, launching from ninth on the grid after his race one win on Saturday, had to use all his skill to pass his rivals on a new track surface that had one clear racing line. Into second place by lap four, Rea chased down the fast-starting leader Xavi Fores on lap nine and set about recording his unique fifth double winning weekend in succession.
The four time champion was particularly pleased to have won another race from the third row, given that he took ill on Saturday evening and was awake most of the night.
In recording his 55th victory on a Kawasaki, as part of his career record of 70 race wins in all, Rea has now equalled the greatest number of wins scored with a single manufacturer in WorldSBK racing.
Rea’s 16th win of the season has taken him to within one victory of equalling the record of race wins in a single year, with two races remaining at the final round.
For Sykes, race two started in a challenging fashion, going from third on the grid to ninth at the end of the first lap. With a strong overall set-up and a different front tyre choice to suit the hotter conditions of race two, he worked out his best way forward and set competitive lap times right through to the end. He passed several competitors as the race unfolded and he ended up fifth.
After 12 rounds, and with one more to go in two week’s time, Rea has set a personal target to try and beat his own record points total of 556, which he scored last year. Jonathan now has 520 points, Davies 348, Michael van der Mark 324 and Tom – still fourth overall – has 294.
The final championship round at the Losail International Circuit will be held between Thursday the 25th of October and Saturday the 27th of October. The two races will be held under floodlights, as is now traditional at the season finale.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was on the podium on Saturday in Argentina but he gradually slid back from second place on lap three to finish seventh today. Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) overcame his first day disappointment with a battling 12th. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 13th and Gabriele Ruiu, (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 14th, scoring two points.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It is really special to come to a new track, where everyone starts from zero, and be able to take the same kind of results. To be fast in the hot conditions and keep our tyre that was the key to the race. It was probably the hardest race win from the third row of the grid. If I went off line to pass, I could not be creative with my line choices. Everybody was pretty much on the same line so the passes had to be set up a few corners in advance. Once I settled into my rhythm I was able to clock off the lap times and pick off riders one by one. When I got clear track to Fores I tracked him down quite fast, but then there was the matter of passing him. Today has been difficult because I caught some kind of virus last night. I was ill all night from one o’clock until five this morning. It was good to have the race at 4pm because most of the day I have been sleeping in the cabin, regaining energy!”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We are just trying to get our heads round why we are one of the fastest on the track - at Magny Cours, and here in both race one and race two. We have got incredible speed but the start was strange and I struggled with a couple of gear selections anyway. I just got into the dirty part of the track, but that was not the big issue. We ended up down to ninth and then made a recovery. The lap time near the end was very impressive. We changed the front tyre for race two and that took a little bit of getting used to. With the hot conditions I suffered initially, but then got my head around it at the end. Just at the beginning of the race I was not able to get the corner speed. I am disappointed not to be on the podium, if I am being honest. The positive to take is how consistent and fast we are in the last third of the race.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team on the podium again in Race 2 in Argentina: Melandri 3rd and Davies 4th after a strong comeback
After taking second place in Race 1, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team stepped on the podium again with Marco Melandri in Race 2 at Villicum (Argentina), home of the twelfth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship. The Italian mounted a strong comeback from third row and, after a hard group fight early on that saw him drop down to ninth, he recovered ground and made several passes to finish third.
Starting from fourth row, Chaz Davies got off to a strong start, climbing back up to third position, and eventually finished in fourth place, a result that helped him extend his lead in the fight for second position in the championship up to 24 points over Vd Mark. After 12 rounds, Davies (348 points) and Melandri (286 points) are respectively second and fifth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action at Losail (Qatar) for the last round of the season, scheduled for October 23-25.
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 3rd
"We rode a good race today as well but I'm a bit disappointed because I was coming back strong and when I was fourth I made a mistake at turn 6, going wide and coming back in ninth position. Then we made several passes to climb back again and, with five laps to go, I saw Forés and tried to push even harder to catch him, but he rode well and I couldn't close the gap. Third place was the best we could do today, and I'm looking forward to get better results in Qatar. The team and I have been working well, so I'm confident ahead of the last round."
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 4th
"It's been a topsy-turvy weekend for us, so, to get fourth today feels a bit like a salvage. We got good points, which is important in the fight for second place in the championship, extending our lead again. That said, we didn't have the most ideal weekend. A couple of technical issues made us start on the back foot and put ourselves in a position to take a bit too many risks. Today we got through the field and into a reasonable position early on, and then I kept my head down and tried to get on the podium. Towards the end, I felt like I had a little bit more left, but I didn't want to risk too much after what happened yesterday. We have a better potential than what we've shown here and I'm looking forward to make the most of it in Qatar."
Serafino Foti, Team Manager
"Marco had a really strong weekend as he was competitive in each session, taking home two important podiums and pole position. Unfortunately, Chaz didn't have an easy round due to some problems but, after crashing out in Race 1, he made a strong comeback today together with Marco. To this end, I want to thank all the guys in the team because they worked really hard to allow us to achieve the best possible results."
Pata Yamaha Push Hard in Challenging Race 2 in Argentina
The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark closed out the inaugural Argentinian WorldSBK weekend with two points scoring finishes in another challenging race at Circuit San Juan Villicum today. Lowes rode an intelligent race to finish sixth, while van der Mark was disappointed to eventually cross the line in ninth place, after being close to the podium contenders in the early stages of the race.
Starting from the head of the second row of the grid, Lowes got a decent start and was initially able to run with the leading group in fourth, until a concerted attack by Marco Melandri and then Chaz Davies saw him pushed back to sixth.
Lowes then managed to hold off a hard charging Tom Sykes for a number of laps, but eventually had to concede the place to the former World Champion just past the halfway point in the race. The Pata Yamaha rider's fast and consistent pace in the second half of the race was rewarded with two laps to go when he passed Toprak Razgatlioglu to retake sixth place, which he held to the chequered flag.
Lining up alongside his teammate on the second row of the grid, it was van der Mark who led the charge for Pata Yamaha from the start. The 25-year-old managed to move up to fourth place in the first few corners, but then got pushed wide onto the dirty part of the track as reigning World Champion, Jonathan Rea, came through on his inside at turn 12.
By the time van der Mark had regained the racing line, he'd lost four places and any possibility of a top five finish. The Pata Yamaha rider continued to push throughout the remainder of the race and had made it as high as 6th position as the race neared the halfway point, but then dropped back to finish ninth as he struggled with a less than perfect set-up on his R1.
Van der Mark remains third in the championship, 24 points behind second-placed Chaz Davies, while Lowes is currently sixth in the standings with 232 points.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th + 10.945
"We were a little bit stronger today, but you don't want to be finishing sixth and having the guys you want to beat passing you in the race and then pulling a bit of a gap. But towards the end I managed to get a better feeling with the bike and just dug in to get the best result that I could. Something small is just holding us back at the moment. We made a promising start to the weekend, but we didn't make the step forward we were expecting ahead of the two races. This was definitely a tough track for us and we struggled a bit on acceleration, as I have done for the past few races, but it looks like Michael is also struggling here with the same problem, despite it not affecting him so much in Portimão and Magny-Cours. Now we need to focus on the negative areas, continue working to improve and look forward. That's all we can do and I know with the development efforts Yamaha is making we will make the steps soon."
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 9th + 15.715
"We made some changes to the bike for morning warm-up, but unfortunately with the half wet and half dry conditions we didn't learn much. The changes were quite small, so we decided to keep the same settings for the race. I got quite a good start, but I was struggling with the bike straight away. I was able to stay near the front until Johnny came past me and we both went wide and onto the dirty part of the track and I lost four places. It was difficult to recover because I didn't feel completely comfortable on the bike. The results from this weekend are disappointing given our performance since we came back after the summer break, but we have to keep our focus and make sure we're ready for the final race in Qatar - the R1 was very good there last year and I'm confident of fighting again for the podium."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK - Team Principal
"Given the recent run of podiums at every event since returning from the summer break, of course it's disappointing to leave Argentina with a best race result of sixth. As the track evolved we weren't able to find the right solutions to give the riders a package that they could fight for the podium with. Nonetheless, it was a good step forward for Alex today, in terms of his overall pace and confidence with the bike, unfortunately marred by a small technical problem without which he may well have been a lot closer to the podium fight. For Michael the race was difficult from the start, getting pushed off the track by Jonathan in the very early stages, losing four places and then struggling to come back from that position. The event itself here has been fantastic, despite some teething problems. Dorna and the circuit have done a great job, there was a huge crowd and we'll be doing our best to make sure the R1 is more competitive at this venue next year."
A weekend of mixed fortune for Milwaukee Aprilia in San Juan.
Circuito San Juan Villicum 14 / 10 / 2018
Weekend Report #ARGWorldSBK
Points across the board for Laverty and Savadori.
After placing himself on the front row of the grid in qualifying Laverty had his eyes firmly set on a podium finish. Lorenzo starting in P8 had some work to do if he was to mount a challenge on the top 6.
Race 1 and Eugene got off to a difficult start seeing him drop two places to P5 after a near collision with No.7 Davies and 66 of Tom Sykes. Laverty however settled into a good rhythm early on and managed regain a position with a slip-streaming move on Lowes down the back straight for P4. Closing the gap to Tom Sykes in P3 Laverty replicated his previous move putting him into a rostrum position.
Laverty's pace seemed to drop after lap 7 and with a charging Razgatlioglu behind him he dropped a position going into T1 on Lap 13. With Toprak, Laverty and Sykes battling it out for P3 this gave an opportunity for Spaniard Fores to close the gap on the trio and on the penultimate lap managed to edge out Eugene for P4. Final Race position P5. 11 Points
Lorenzo similarly didn’t get the best of starts losing two positions on the opening lap to Fores and local man Mercardo. Despite getting a poor start Savadori gained a position on Lap 4 after No. 36 Mercado crashed out in front of him now in P9. Lorenzo’s day however would be unluckily cut short after a stone got jammed between his sprocket and chain resulting in shredding the teeth on the sprocket forcing him to retire on Lap 14.
Milwaukee Aprilia's bad luck continued into Race 2 when Eugene Laverty crashed out of second place on lap 3. Despite getting a good start Eugene couldn’t match the pace of pole sitter Fores and lost the front going into T6 prematurely ending his race.
After being forced to retire from race 1 Lorenzo was looking to add points to the board in race 2. Starting from P10 he got off to a solid start and gained a position passing Kawasaki's Tom Sykes and inheriting a position from luckless team mate Laverty.
Sitting in P8 on lap 13 Lorenzo managed to consistently lap 1'40.6's throughout the remaining of the race bringing home 8 points. Final Race position P8.
The final race of the 2018 WSBK season will take place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on the 25/10/18.
Keep up to date with the Milwaukee Aprilia team on their website, and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram channels
Shaun Muir - Team Principal
"Qualifying was obviously good to get both riders through to SP2. Eugene had a solid session and I’m happy with his front row start. It’s disappointing that the larger tyre hasn’t been available for Lorenzo this weekend, as he has really struggled to get used the smaller diameter tyre which has been reflected in his lap times.
"Great race for Eugene. He had good pace up until about lap 7 where his tyre started to loose grip which was expected, overall I’m happy and it puts him on the front row for tomorrow’s race. Eugene has struggled in the last two sectors of the track but we have some good positive changes to make for tomorrows race so he’s got a good shot at the podium."
"Lorenzo had a really unlucky race today with a stone jamming between his sprocket and chain causing him to pit, despite that he also managed to collect good data from the early laps so I’m expecting him to challenge the top 6 in tomorrows’ race."
"Really disappointing for Eugene in race 2, he had a good morning warm up and with the changes he made to the bike we were all expecting a challenge for a podium. Lorenzo again struggling with the larger tyre for the second race but positive to pick up a few points. We've got to pick ourselves up and go to Qatar ending the season on a high."
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 1 grid: P8 - Row 3
Race 1 result: DNF - 0 Points
Race 2 grid: P10 - Row 4
Race 2 result: P8 - 8 Points
"I’m not really happy as I am struggling to turn the bike and at this circuit it is very important. The biggest problem for me is coming from the last few races with the bigger tyre and developing the bike with the bigger tyre so having to use the smaller tyre here in Argentina has been difficult."
"Race 1 was difficult for me as I had a problem with the sprocket so I had to retire. We learnt a lot from the race and we can take a lot of information into tomorrow for Race 2.
"Race 2 was difficult but I was pushing to the maximum, we were fighting a lot in the opening laps and because of this we lose the group ahead. I look forward to Qatar now and i hope that the larger tyre is available because we know we can be faster with this option."
Eugene Laverty #50 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Race 1 grid: P3 - Row 1
Race 1 result: P5 - 11 points
Race 2 grid: P2 - Row 1
Race 2 result: DNF - 0 Points
"We were riding so strong in Race 1 and to just miss out 3rd is of course disappointing. The second half of the race was tough as the balance of the bike wasn't quite right but we have some good information to build on for tomorrow’s race.
"I’m disappointed to crash out of race 1 so early. Xavi Fores was so fast in the early laps I couldn't match his pace at the start so I had to ride at my own rhythm and I just lost the front going into T6. We knew from superpole that if the track rose above 50°c that the front tyre would be sketchy and that ultimately caught us out today."
"We've been getting stronger and stronger since my injury so let’s keep this momentum going and finish the season on a high in Qatar."
Gagne returns to the top ten in Argentina
Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team’s Jake Gagne fought his way into the top ten with a spirited Race 2 at the Circuito San Juan Villicum as teammate Leon Camier was forced to retire.
Lining up in twelfth for Race 2, Leon Camier fought to hold his position into the tight first corner as the lights went out in Argentina. Behind, Jake Gagne moved up to twelfth from fourteenth on the grid as he looked to make amends for Saturday’s crash. The fighting was fierce and Camier found himself again forced to run off track, dropping to eighteenth on lap two while Gagne continued to chase the top ten.
Unfortunately, a technical issue saw Leon Camier retire on lap eight. Gagne had meanwhile become embroiled in a battle with Michael van der Mark, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider holding his own for several laps against the Dutchman before Gagne developed a vibration issue. Gagne’s pace saw him hold tenth place comfortably in the final third of the race, earning his third top ten finish of 2018.
As the final round of the 2018 season looms, Camier remains on 108 championship points as Gagne moves up to 57 points and seventeenth in the championship.
The Losail International Circuit will host the final round of the 2018 FIM Superbike World Championship, with its traditional Friday and Saturday night races meaning the weekend runs from the October 25 to 27.
Jake Gagne 45
We had a good race for sure. We made some nice changes in Warm Up this morning, but it was hard to be sure of them due to the track being weird after the rain. It improved a couple of areas that we wanted to from yesterday. I had a decent start but maybe got shuffled around a little too much, that’s what you get for qualifying back there. Then we got into a good rhythm, unfortunately half way through the race I had a lot of vibration which was a bummer and made it difficult to ride. That second half of the race I just rode around by myself once ninth got away from me. But I’m happy, top ten is the goal and the track was really cool to ride. Now we try and keep the momentum going for Qatar and get another top ten hopefully!
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Leon Camier 2
It’s difficult to say what’s going on at the minute, there was an issue and something didn’t feel right from the sighting lap. The team are looking into it to find out exactly what it was. I had two people crash into me on one lap because I had this issue and was going so slow. Then unfortunately I ended up taking Smrz out, there was nothing I could have done about it as I had a problem going into the corner and had no where to go. It was a disaster. For some reason we are struggling to understand what’s going on, we keep trying things with the electronics and the chassis to get it right but nothing is working. We’ll keep scratching our heads and working through it and hopefully turn around something for Qatar.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
A challenging day for sure. Jake had a really good race, finishing in the top ten. This was the first time I saw a really confident Jake Gagne, we saw him passing then lose places and fight straight back. I think it is a great race for his confidence in the future. We saw on Friday that there was something a bit special here for him this weekend and he did well. We saw a racing Gagne this weekend. On the other side of the box it was really hard. Unfortunately we had a technical issue and we are investigating what it was that caused Leon to pull in. It wasn’t safe to proceed especially as he was also last. On Leon’s side we need to regroup, take what has happened this weekend and make a new game plan to start with a blank page in Qatar.
Eleventh for Baz in race 2 at El Villicum
San Juan (Argentina), Sunday 14 October 2018
The penultimate round of the 2018 Superbike World Championship has just concluded at the brand-new San Juan El Villicum circuit; for the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team and rider Loris Baz the second race proved a tough one, the Frenchman passing beneath the chequered flag in eleventh place today.
Superbike – Race 2 – from ninth on the grid, Baz lost a little ground off the line, twelfth through the first corners. He held that position until around the mid-race point when, having worked to catch Mercado, he was finally able to pass the Argentinian. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, a gap of around six seconds had meanwhile opened up between him and the group ahead. Baz nevertheless continued to do his best – some of his fastest times coming in the final laps – to close today’s race in eleventh place.
The penultimate championship round now concluded, Baz lies eleventh in the general standings with 127 points. The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team will be back in action over the weekend of 25-27 October, taking part in the final round at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
“A very tough race. I received a grid penalty after I failed to note the red flag during warm-up, and that put me back to ninth. Then the track was very slippery with very low grip, so it was hard to pass in these conditions. That meant it took me time to reach and overtake Mercado, and by then I’d lost ground to those ahead of me. I hoped for more and am disappointed as I wanted to close at least top ten. Instead, I finished with more or less the same gap to the front as yesterday. I’m just sorry for the team, as we are unable to do more with what we have…”
Positive Start And Tough Finish For Triple M Honda In Argentina
Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina
The Triple M Honda World Superbike team and their new rider Florian Marino arrived in Argentina full of optimism in their first working weekend together, with Marino learning quickly and starting 15th.
The challenges of the El Villicum circuit were new for the Triple M team and Florian and after Friday practice, where Florian qualified 17th out of the 19 riders on the grid. After Superpole 1 on Saturday, he secured 15th place on the grid for Race 1.
In the first ever race at the brand new Circuito San Juan Villicum, located in the west of Argentina, Marino rode with confidence as he learned more of the secrets of his Honda CBR1000RR SP2 machine, finishing 11thand scoring points his first time out.
The second race on Sunday was run in significantly warmer conditions than day one. On lap two Marino collided with Leon Camier’s machine and the Frenchman suffered a heavy crash. His initial diagnosis is a double fracture of the lower left leg. Florian is now undergoing more medical checks in a local hospital.
The final weekend of the 2018 WorldSBK season will take place under the floodlights in Qatar, with race day taking place on Saturday 27 October.
Florian Marino 51
It was a positive first race on Saturday and I was not sure what to expect at the start. I saw that the guys behind were a bit confused, they did not really know if they should push or not. At this time I pushed and passed some riders like Baz and even Gagne. I did not question myself and just went. After I had set some fast laps I tried to fight and stay with them as long as possible. I was still not feeling really like I wanted to on the bike and I struggled physically. The second half of the race was really tough on Saturday but I learned a lot.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
It was a good weekend until today. Florian told us he hit Leon Camier and he crashed into Leon and then he fell off the bike. He has broken his lower left leg and we are going to hospital now to see him.
WorldSSP: Cluzel wins in Argentina and sets up title showdown for Losail
Brilliant fifth victory of the season for the Frenchman ahead of Cortese and Mahias
Cluzel puts Cortese's championship celebrations on ice in Argentina
With the flag down after a nerve-wrenching first contest at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, it is now official: the new champion will be crowned at the final race of the season. Jules Cluzel (NRT) did everything he could to keep the battle alive for Qatar, taking his fifth win of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship and forcing Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) to settle for second, with 2017 champion Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team).
Cluzel grabbed the holeshot at the start, moving ahead of Mahias from fourth on the grid inside lap one. The leading pair soon became an all-French trio, as Corentin Perolari (GMT94 Yamaha) flew up the ranks from seventh on the grid to third. It came at the expense of Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP Team), however – Perolari jetted down the inside line at turn 2, the pair clashed, and Caricasulo found himself on the floor, any remaining title options evaporated in the blink of an eye.
The championship leader suffered a disappointing start, slipping down to fourth behind the leading trio. Far from fearing for his lead in the standings, Cortese chose to play the long game. The German slowly chiseled away at the gap with Perolari, eventually finding a comfortable slipstream down the back straight to go into third. Same strategy to move past Mahias: down the kilometre-plus straight at San Juan, taking good advantage of the slipstream with less than five laps to go.
Then came the much-awaited showdown. Record laps tumbled one after the other, both men left in the championship battle pushing harder than ever before – but Cortese finding that extra inch, cutting tenth after tenth off Cluzel’s lead. The German set his eyes on the final lap and that extraordinary back straight, barely a couple of tenths behind at that point. But he found the extra speed just too late: Cluzel defended his line masterfully, and with the Frenchman marginally stronger in the final sector all race he managed to meet the chequered flag ahead. Cortese’s lead is now down to six points: a repeat of this result in Qatar would grant him the world title – but the pressure is on.
Mahias crossed the line in third for a repeat of the Magny-Cours podium, with Thomas Gradinger (NRT) also repeating his fourth position from France. Perolari got a nose ahead of Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros WorldSSP Team) in a rip-roaring sprint to the line, defeating the Swiss rider for fifth.
Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was the first non-Yamaha rider in Argentina, leading a professional yet solitary race to seventh, followed over twelve seconds behind by the Kawasaki pair of Hikari Okubo and Héctor Barberà (Kawasaki Pucccett Racing) in eighth and ninth. Loris Cresson (Kallio Racing) returned to the top ten for the first time since Brno, while Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) was forced to retire after a mechanical issue.
The WorldSSP championship will go down to the wire! Catch the best moments of the Argentinian Round and gear up for the final round at Losail.
P1 - Jules Cluzel (NRT)
“I never saw Sandro, just on TV! It’s a shame – I did my job, I worked really hard for the race, I’m really proud because we didn’t make mistakes this weekend and I will try my best for the last one. I need some points though because it’s not enough – I think you all know how many points I lost this year and even because of Sandro, so maybe I will get revenge in Qatar, but I will try everything for sure.”
Mahias on the Podium but Disappointment for Caricasulo in Argentina
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias stormed to his fourth podium finish of the season today at Circuito San Juan Villicum, taking the chequered flag in third place after a titanic three-way battle in front of a large and passionate Argentinian crowd. Federico Caricasulo's South American weekend ended in frustration, as the Italian crashed out of contention just two corners into the 19-lap race following contact with another rider.
Mahias, starting from pole position for the fifth time this season, lost out on the opening lap to Jules Cluzel but slotted in behind his fellow countryman as the pursuing pack battled for position behind. Championship leader Sandro Cortese was quick to join the two Frenchmen at the front of the race, as the trio rapidly pulled a gap on the rest of the field.
Mahias shadowed race leader Cluzel for 16 laps, with Cortese happy to sit in his slipstream until two laps from the end when the German passed the GRT Yamaha rider to take second place and start the pursuit of his main championship rival. Mahias was unable to match the straight-line speed of his two rivals, but crossed the line to claim his fourth podium finish of the season in third.
Caricasulo's Argentinian adventure was brought to a premature conclusion just two corners into today's WorldSSP race, when Corentin Perolari tried to force his way up the inside and made contact the GRT Yamaha rider, causing him to lose the front. Caricasulo slid off uninjured, but the bike was too damaged in the crash for him to rejoin safely and he was forced to retire.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 3rd +3.702
"It was a strange race. I definitely had the rhythm I needed to win today, but I was losing too much ground to Jules and Sandro on the long back straight. I'm a little bit disappointed because we worked hard this weekend and we were fast in every single session. In the race I was pushing for 19 laps on the absolute limit and I was fastest through the corners but it just wasn't enough to make up for the losses on the straight every lap. I'm happy to be on the podium once again, but it was very difficult today."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - DNF
"Obviously I am not happy with today. We have worked so hard this weekend to make sure we were in the best position for the race and then it was over for me in just two corners. I don't know what Perolari was thinking, trying to win the race in the second turn, but it cost me my race and that is incredibly frustrating. There's not much more to say really."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"To see Federico crash out of the race in just the second corner because of contact with another rider is extremely disappointing, but there was nothing he could do. It was a shame for his race to end this way, because he'd shown throughout practice and qualifying that he had the pace to challenge for the win but didn't get the chance to do so today. Lucas didn't get the best of starts, but recovered quickly and managed to stay together with the leaders as they pulled a gap on the rest of the field. He rode a great race, pushing hard until the very end, but Cluzel and Cortese were simply faster than us today. The team did a great job all weekend, so the podium is some reward for them and for Yamaha. Now we need to focus on the final race in Qatar, where our target once again will be to win."
KRUMMENACHER CONCLUDES THE RACE AT THE SAN JUAN EL VILLICUM CIRCUIT IN SIXTH PLACE, INCREASING HIS ADVANTAGE OVER THE FOURTH-PLACED RIDER IN THE STANDINGS
San Juan, 14 October 2018
The inaugural race weekend at the brand-new Argentinian circuit of “El Villicum” in San Juan draws to a close. At 2.30pm local time, in temperatures of 24C°, the penultimate race of the Supersport world championship got underway. The Team Bardahl Evan Bros. rider, who started from sixth on the grid, initially lost two positions due to an incident that occurred during lap one. He then pushed to catch up, lowering his times particularly in the second half of the race, but nineteen laps were not enough to allow Krummenacher to reach the leading group. Overall a positive race as, with the points scored today, the Swiss rider maintains third place in the championship standings, now 15 points ahead of the fourth-placed rider.
The final race of the season will take place in the evening, as is tradition at the Losail Circuit in Doha, Qatar.
Krummenacher, aware that he still has a good margin for improvement, remains positive and believes he can pick things up for the final round.
#RK21: “Today’s race was better than some of the recent ones to be honest. I still struggled off the line and particularly though the opening laps, but I’m sure that, by working with my team, we’ll be able to solve this. Once we can be fast in the early stages too, I’m convinced we’ll have all we need to get back on the podium. Overall, it’s gone well because my advantage over fourth is now 15 points, and anything can happen in Doha”.
Seventh for Smith & points score for Sebestyen at San Juan
Posted on 14th October 2018
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Kyle Smith delivered another top ten finish in today’s maiden FIM Supersport World Championship race at the Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina.
From his qualifying position on the third row of the grid Smith rode a lonely race to finish top non-Yamaha in seventh place, over twelve seconds ahead of Kawasaki’s Okubo in eighth.
Smith said: “I’m happy with the pace I had and the way the race went. I felt fast in the corner sections and I felt like I had the pace. Qatar is a bit of a different track, I don’t think it asks for so much torque like this track so hopefully we can be a bit closer to the front.”
Peter Sebestyen confirmed his potential with another convincing points scoring finish at the South American circuit. Unfortunately a mistake on the opening lap meant the Hungarian rider lost touch with the group ahead but despite losing ground Sebestyen claimed another Championship point coming home in fifteenth position.
Sebestyen said: “The first lap of the race I made a mistake and I couldn’t fight with the others. I was on the wrong lines and if you go out of the good lines it is so dirty and you lose a lot of time. Then I tried to catch the group in front of me, my speed was good enough to catch them but again I made some mistakes when I tried to push a little harder to catch them so I lost some seconds. It was my fault. The bike was good I think if I can make a more constant race with a better first lap I’m sure we can be top ten. That is the goal for the next race.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “A good race really for Kyle. He made a good start and then there was one mistake and he lost a bit of time to Krummenacher. Once he lost the group he did the right thing to ride a consistent race, he did really consistent lap times and finished a strong seventh. So we go to Qatar where we have won before, where Kyle has won before with us and on another Honda. The team is working well so let’s go to finish the season on a high.”
“Peter lost so much ground on the opening laps. He did start to catch that group then he tried a bit too hard and made some mistakes. Still it’s another good points finish for Peter, again he needs to go to Qatar, which is a great track for our bike and look for a big finish for the end of the season. Great job by all the team, thanks to all the organisers and everyone in Argentina for putting on a really good show. We’ll see you all in Qatar.”
Season Best Results For Okubo And Barbera
Kawasaki Puccetti Racing riders Hikari Okubo and Hector Barbera put in their personal best performances of the year at San Juan Villicum today, with Hikari eighth and Barbera ninth after a tough fight in a three rider group.
The 4.276km Villicum circuit was dry on raceday after heavy overnight rain. In warm up this morning Okubo was down in 20th place, setting only three laps. He made an excellent recovery from 16th place on the grid with a very strong performance in the 19-lap race to score eight championship points.
For Barbera, the Argentinean race also gave him his best result of his short WorldSSP season, having been 13th in morning warm up and 14th on the grid after Superpole qualifying on Saturday. Ninth in the race was his third consecutive top ten finish since he joined the team.
In the championship standings Hikari has moved up to 12th overall, with 40 points. Hector, after only three rounds, is 18th, with 19 points.
The season now moves to its 12th and final round, to be held under floodlights at the Losail circuit in Qatar between the 25th and 27th of October. Raceday, unlike the other events on the calendar in 2018, will be held on a Saturday.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “The race gave me a much better feeling because my lap times were constant. The only problem was my grid position because my qualifying was no good. If my start position was nearer the front we could have had an even better result. But I am happy because I got the best result in a race this year and the feeling was better with the bike.”
Hector Barbera stated: “Today was maybe my best race in this category, even if my final result was not what I wanted. I am not happy with the position but my feeling was better, especially after seven laps. My best race lap was better than the qualifying. My best lap today was similar to Perolari and he finished in fifth position. I think now I am closer to the riders in front but I need to work a little bit in the test days. I am happy because now I am closer.”
Christian Stange was 14th and scored two points for the GoEleven Kawasaki team, while Argentinean rider Javier Ezequiel Iturrioz (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 16th and just missed a point. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 20th, but Glenn van Straalen (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) no scored.