2018 San Juan Villicum World Superbike Race Two Result: Still With The Reverse Grid?

Twenty one laps to go, then it's a two week wait until the last race of the season. Argentina's Circuito San Juan Villicum gave World SUperbike two races on a fresh track, surrounded by a region rebuilt after the 1944 earthquake. 

The reverse grid put Xavi Fores in pole position, alongside Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes, but Sykes couldn't stay with the other two when the lights went out. Fores got away cleanly and started to escape at the front. Laverty was joined by Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark. Jonathan Rea pushed through to fifth place, but this track isn't an easy one to make loads of passes and after one lap Rea was still in fifth place, with Alex Lowes in front of him and Chaz Davies, Michael van der Mark and Marco Melandri behind. 

On turn one of lap two, with Xavi Fores almost a second clear, Chaz Davies pushed past Jonathan Rea in turn one after Rea missed the apex and the pair were side-by side for the first few turns. Marco Melandri followed his teammate a few turns later, taking sixth place off Rea briefly, until Rea took it back as Xavi Fores set the fastest lap to extend his lead to over a second over Eugene Laverty and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

On lap three, Jonathan Rea took fifth place from Chaz Davies while Eugene Laverty crashed out of second place on his own at turn six, gifting the spot to Toprak Razgatlioglu. Rea got past Alex Lowes and closed up the gap to Razgatlioglu. Lowes fell victim to Chaz Davies, but as Davies went wide, pushing Lowes out with him, Marco Melandri stuffed it under both of them and passed Davies. Lowes, on the outside line, carried his corner speed and held fourth place ahead of Melandri and Davies. At the end of the straight, Rea closed up to Razgatlioglu. Razgatlioglu couldn't hold his line through the fast left-handers after the straight and Rea carried on his normal line and took second place, facing a two and three quarter second gap to Xavi Fores in the lead. 

Lap five, and things started to go wrong for Alex Lowes. First he was passed by Marco Melandri into turn one and then, down the long straight, he was passed by Chaz Davies. As Jonathan Rea closed the gap to under two seconds on lap six, it was Melandri's turn for the bad luck, and at turn six, he went wide and was passed by Chaz Davies, Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Savadori. He snuck back into the group just ahead of Tom Sykes and had his passing work once again cut out for him. 

On lap seven, Rea set a personal best lap and closed down Xavi Fores and on lap eight, the pair swapped places back and forth, and a lap later, Rea got under Fores into turn one and never looked back. 

Further back, Marco Melandri was on the move again. After a mistake by Michael van der Mark and a clean pass on Alex Lowes into turn one, he had a couple of seconds to go to catch Chaz Davies who in turn had a couple of seconds to catch Toprak Razgatlioglu. It took Melandri five laps to catch Davies, mostly because Davies was not hanging about, taking the same five laps to catch Razgatlioglu in front of him. Jonathan Rea and Xavi Fores kept up their pace at the front, with Rea stretching his lead to almost three seconds while Fores was over three seconds clear of Razgatlioglu, but on lap fifteen, both Ducatis sat behind Razgatlioglu's big green bike and made headway in his wake. Davies passed Razgatlioglu down the straight, but Melandri couldn't get him on the brakes and had to wait until two turns later to pass him. 

On lap sixteen, Jonathan Rea looked at the amount of laps remaining and sensed how much tyre he had left and turned his 1'40 laps into 1'39s in an embarrassing show of force. As Marco Melandri passed Chaz Davies at the end of the straight, Rea turned a gap of under three seconds into one of over four and increased it every lap until the chequered flag. Razgatlioglu started dropping back, having spent what rubber he had left fighting the Ducatis and he fell into the clutches of rider after rider while Marco Melandri cleared off from his teammate and consolidated his third place, closing down the gap to Xavi Fores in second place, but not at a pace that would get him to the fight before he ran out of laps. 

As it was, Jonathan Rea had built up over five seconds of lead over Xavi Fores and used the gap to showboat for the crowd before the last couple of corners, popping a standup wheelie between turns thirteen and fourteen and doing the same up the hill to the finish line to win his tenth race on the bounce, setting a new World Superbike record in the process. Xavi Fores took a safe second place, finally making the reverse grid pay off, while Marco Melandri once again beat his teammate. Chaz Davies, Tom Sykes and Alex Lowes rounded out the top six, all having passed seventh-placed Toprak Razgatlioglu in the last few laps.

All three podium men were the only riders to post 1'39 laps throughout the race, with Tom Sykes just missing out on a 1'39 and Chaz Davies a quarter of a second off the feat. 

As the grid moves to Qatar for the last round, Chaz Davies is twenty four points clear of Michael van der Mark in second place. The Dutchman did not get on with the track but was able to garner fifteen points from the weekend to Davies's thirteen. Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes are only separated by eight points, but if Melandri has another weekend like this one, he will take fourth place from Sykes next race weekend. 


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR  
2 12 X. FORES Ducati Panigale R 3.273
3 33 M. MELANDRI Ducati Panigale R 4.660
4 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 6.838
5 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10RR 9.377
6 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 10.945
7 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 12.638
8 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 13.958
9 60 M. VAN DER MARK Yamaha YZF R1 15.715
10 45 J. GAGNE Honda CBR1000RR 20.861
11 76 L. BAZ BMW S 1000 RR 25.595
12 36 L. MERCADO Kawasaki ZX-10RR 33.171
13 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10RR 47.254
14 16 G. RUIU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 55.140
RET 16 77 M. SCHEIB MV Agusta 1000 F4 9 Laps
RET 2 L. CAMIER Honda CBR1000RR 14 Laps
RET 50 E. LAVERTY Aprilia RSV4 RF 19 Laps
RET 51 F. MARINO Honda CBR1000RR 1
RET 96 J. SMRZ Yamaha YZF R1 1
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