An anti-clockwise track, starting with a hill with a crest after the finish line, a couple of swooping corners, a kilometre run to a passing corner, some tight one-line-only corners, flip-flop, flip-flop and a couple of tight lefts to get back to the hill. Race one of World Superbike at Circuito San Juan Villicum would be twenty one laps with clouds looking on from the shadows of the Andes.
Jake Smrz didn't make the start as his Yamaha was acting up. Marco Melandri started from pole position ahead of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, the Kawasakis chasing down the manufacturer's championship as the Ducati man chased down a seat for next year.
Melandri got away into the lead, outbraking Rea's brilliant start, but Rea took the lead at turn two as the riders behind them got into some scrapes as they jostled for position, the fight going all the way to turn seven where Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty and Tati Mercado nearly came a cropper.
The second lap was Rea leading Melandri, Sykes, Alex Lowes, Eugene Laverty, Chaz Davies and Toprak Razgatlioglu before any gaps appeared. Jonathan Rea set the lap record and held it until Eugene Laverty crossed the line and broke it. On lap three, having forced a gap at the lead, Rea took the lap record back. A lap later, Rea and Melandri were the only riders at the front not in a fight for position, Sykes, Laverty, Lowes, Davies, Razgatlioglu and Mercado in with a shout for third until Mercado crashed out. On lap five, Rea was over a second clear of Melandri, doing what Rea does, and Melandri was keeping out of trouble over a second clear of the battle for third between Sykes and Laverty, the pair having broken free from the four-way battle for fifth place. While Laverty hounded Sykes passing him before the lap was done, Razgatlioglu passed Davies and, a lap later, Lowes. Davies followed Razgatlioglu and the four kept fighting for a few more laps.
On lap eight, four places behind Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatlioglu broke free of the four-bike battle for fifth and left them to fight for sixth amongst themselves for a while, with Alex Lowes and Xavi Fores swapping places back and forth behind Chaz Davies. With Rea two seconds ahead of Melandri and Melandri two seconds ahead of LAverty and Sykes, it looked like the race was fairly settled, but Razgatlioglu was three tenths of a second quicker than the men ahead of him and lap by lap, he eventually closed up to them and turned the fight for third place into a three-way by lap twelve, right after Jonathan Rea broke the lap record for the last time today.
Chaz Davies caught the three bike fight for third, and on unlucky lap thirteen, Toprak Razgatlioglu charged into turn one, his favourite passing place, and took fourth place from Tom Sykes and started snapping at Eugene Laverty's heels, but as the four riders barrelled down the long back straight, white flags came out as the clouds turned to light rain. Chaz Davies, carrying a little too much speed as drops of rain hit his visor, went into the left hander carrying a little too much speed and hit the dirty part of the track, with only one line through the left handers after the straight putting clean rubber only on the racing line, and lost grip, sliding his Ducati off the track and ending his day.
The rain flags would show up occasionally after this, but wouldn't affect the race. Lap times didn't drop noticeably when they appeared and disappeared.
At the start of lap fourteen, Toprak Razgatlioglu did his turn one move on Eugene Laverty and took third place for him. Laverty returned the favour with same move down the back straight he'd used to get past Sykes a few times, but Razgatlioglu took third place back on the brakes into the left handers. It took a few laps for Razgatlioglu to get a gap from Laverty, and once he had, the fight for fourth place was between Laverty and Tom Sykes who were joined by Xavi Fores. Fores wasted no time in passing Sykes, but passing Laverty took a few more laps, and the three of them started the last lap with Fores leading Laverty and Sykes as the podium contenders ran away in front, Jonathan Rea having an eight second gap over Marco Melandri who was only four seconds and closing ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu. Four seconds is four seconds, though, and Melandri would have no trouble in coming second behind Rea. Fores finished behind Razgatlioglu but ahead of Laverty and Sykes.
Jonathan Rea took his ninth victory in a row and handed Kawasaki their fourth manufacturer's title in a row. On the cool down lap, as Marco Melandri celebrated with his team in parc fermé, the Kawasakis of Toprak Razgatlioglu, Tom Sykes and a jubilant high-fiving Jonathan Rea all met up in front of some Kawasaki staff who gave them some t-shirts, a Japanese flag, a Kawasaki flag and lots of photography opportunities. The Kawasakis eventually made it back to parc fermé where Rea, talking about his victory, pointed at his team and said that he just finished the job they did.
Jonathan Rea keeps filling the record books, but his rival Chaz Davies is still fighting Michael van der Mark for second place in the championship and his DNF today didn't help him. Fortunately for Davies, van der Mark could only score eight points, not having a good race at this new track. Tom Sykes conceded another ten points to Marco Melandri who is now only thirteen points behind Sykes's fourth place, with three races to go.
Xavi Fores will sit on pole position for race two, ahead of Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes.
|1||1||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10RR|
|2||33||M. MELANDRI||Ducati Panigale R||9.163|
|3||54||T. RAZGATLIOGLU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||11.410|
|4||12||X. FORES||Ducati Panigale R||11.796|
|5||50||E. LAVERTY||Aprilia RSV4 RF||12.441|
|6||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||12.690|
|7||22||A. LOWES||Yamaha YZF R1||15.597|
|8||60||M. VAN DER MARK||Yamaha YZF R1||16.846|
|9||76||L. BAZ||BMW S 1000 RR||28.117|
|10||2||L. CAMIER||Honda CBR1000RR||28.164|
|11||51||F. MARINO||Honda CBR1000RR||41.449|
|12||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||41.783|
|14||16||G. RUIU||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||55.986|
|RET||32||L. SAVADORI||Aprilia RSV4 RF||6 Laps|
|RET||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||9 Laps|
|RET||45||J. GAGNE||Honda CBR1000RR||15 Laps|
|RET||36||L. MERCADO||Kawasaki ZX-10RR||4|
|RET||96||J. SMRZ||Yamaha YZF R1|