The WorldSBK Championship descended on the Circuito San Juan Villicum, Argentina and it was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) who claimed race one honours after a 21-lap encounter after transferring his scintillating Friday pace into Saturday action.
Both Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), decorated in a special 1990s livery to mark a special anniversary for Kawasaki, got quick starts from second and fifth on the grid respectively to lead the race into turn one, while polesitter Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) found himself on the ground at the first turn after crashing, with the Briton falling to the back.
Out in front and Rea had put pressure on Razgatlioglu for the lead of the race before the championship leader opened up the gap to Rea to just over three seconds at the end of lap eight, with the pair holding station until the end of the race. Razgatlioglu’s win meant he claimed the 50th podium of his career while Yamaha claimed their first podium at San Juan Villicum. Rea’s second place meant he claimed Great Britain’s 810th podium, while it was only the second time Rea has not won at Argentina.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) claimed the tenth podium of his WorldSBK career with third place after passing Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) at around half-distance of the race. Bassani had started from the front row for the first time in his WorldSBK career but fell back at the start before fighting back into third, before Rinaldi was able to pass him. Rinaldi’s podium was Ducati’s 980th podium in WorldSBK.
The battle for fourth raged on between Bassani and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with Lowes, using a Top Gun-inspired livery to mark Kawasaki’s 125th anniversary, making the move through turns six and seven to move into fourth before fending off the Ducati rider down the back straight into turn eight, with Lowes finishing in fourth place and Bassani in fifth.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) was another who had a strong start as the lights went out but soon found himself falling back down the order as he battled with Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK); with the Dutchman claiming sixth place and Gerloff seventh. Locatelli ended the race in eighth place after starting from sixth place.
Redding ended the 21-lap race in ninth place after battling his way back from the back of the field after his turn one spill, passing numerous riders to secure a top-ten finish despite the early setback, with Leon Haslam (Team HRC) rounding out the top ten after withstanding late challenges from his rivals but unable to keep Redding behind.
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed 11th place in only his second round onboard Kawasaki machinery, finishing almost two seconds clear of Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) who finished in 12th place. Irish rider Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) moved up the order at the start of the race but fell back as the 21-lap progressed, eventually coming home in 13th place.
It was a strong showing for Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) as he looked to claim his first top-ten finish in WorldSBK, but a late trip through the gravel meant he fell down to 14th place, four seconds behind Laverty. Japanese rookie Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed the final points-paying position with 15th place.
Home hero Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 16th and missing out on points by around five seconds, but he was also five seconds clear of 17th-placed Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha). Two Argentinean riders rounded out the classified runners with Marco Solorza (OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing) and teammate Luciano Ribodino in 18th and 19th respectively.
Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) was the first retirement of the race after he had a crash at turn four on the third lap of the race. Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had shown strong pace throughout the weekend but retired from race one after an early trip into the gravel at turn seven; although he did re-join the race, he retired in the second half.
Race One Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.295s
3 Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +9.417s
Tissot Superpole Race
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship continued to thrill throughout the Motul Argentinean Round as the 10-lap Tissot Superpole Race was decided by a drag race to the finish line at the Circuito San Juan Villicum with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) dicing it out for Superpole Race honours.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) once again claimed the lead of the race into turn one after leapfrogging polesitter Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) while Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was straight into podium contention from fifth on the grid and immediately battling with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Scott Redding.
At the end of lap three, Redding lost ground to Razgatlioglu after running wide at the final corner, allowing Rea to put pressure on the Ducati rider while the Turkish star was able to extend his lead at the front of the field. Redding was able to spend a few laps recovering the time to Razgatlioglu before putting pressure on the race leader with the battling right until the line; Redding looking to make a move into turn six and seven but Razgatlioglu responded to hold on to the line by just 0.046s. Razgatlioglu claimed his 13th win of 2021 with Yamaha taking their 350th podium placement. Redding claimed second for his 20th podium this campaign with Rea settling for third; the trio starting from the front row.
As in Saturday’s race one, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) lost ground at the start of the race but was able to fight back to claim fourth place, his best dry-weather result, in the Superpole Race after passing Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in lap three; Lowes would drop back to ninth in the closing stages of the race. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) once again battled it out on track with the Dutchman coming out on top to claim fifth place, with Italian rookie Locatelli in sixth and one second back from van der Mark.
After topping warm-ip on Sunday morning, Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) claimed seventh place after making progress from his starting spot, with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in eighth place; the Italian had battled his way up the order before losing a couple of spots in the latter stages of the race. Lowes will complete the third row after finishing ninth.
Tissot Superpole Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)
2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.046s
3 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +3.419s
Argentinian action in WorldSBK race two at the San Juan circuit saw the championship top three engaged in a hard-fought 21-lap battle with Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) coming out on top, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) second and Toprak Razgatlioglu third (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK). In earlier weekend racing, Razgatlioglu won Saturday’s race one and the Sprint, while Rea took two podiums – a second in race one and a third in Sunday’s quick dash.
The Turk now holds a 30 point lead over Rea (531 to 501 points) with Redding back in third on 465 points, with the title-decider in the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship going down to the wire and to be decided at the final round, a month away at Indonesia’s Mandalika International Street Circuit on November 19-21.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) got a good start from third on the grid while Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) led from pole position. The pair battled through the first three laps, with Redding joining the fray, and Rea taking the lead briefly before being pushed down to third on the fourth lap of 21. On lap five, the Ducati star moved up to second with a pass on Rea before passing Razgatlioglu, while Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) continued his strong form as he battled the championship’s top three for a podium position.
Rea was able to respond to move into second and looked to take the lead, but the Turkish star was able to resist the challenge on lap six. At the start of lap nine, Redding made a move on Rea into turn one to move up into second place, with Razgatlioglu still out in front, although Redding did make a move into turn eight, with Razgatlioglu responding.
On lap ten at turn seven, Redding overtook Razgatlioglu to capture the lead, with Rea almost able to pass the Turkish star into Turn 8 but Razgatlioglu responded to keep second place. The move allowed Redding to escape the thrilling battles, with the fight between Razgatlioglu, Rea and Bassani continuing to heat up.
Rea cut back under Razgatlioglu into turn seven to briefly move into second place on lap 14 but Razgatlioglu regained the position under braking into turn eight. On Lap 16, Rea made the crucial overtake to move into turn one but Razgatlioglu fought back until turn five with the pair side-by-side throughout the sequence. After this, Rea was able to break away to claim second place ahead of Razgatlioglu, Redding claiming his first victory since Catalunya.
Bassani dropped away from the lead trio in the closing stages but still recorded fourth place after another excellent race for the Italian rookie as he withstood a late challenge from Ducati stablemate Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) by just half-a-second at the end of the 21-lap race. With the top four battling it out in the early stages, Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was running in the lead group with fifth place before he was passed by Rinaldi, eventually coming home in sixth place.
Yamaha stablemates Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) finished in seventh and eighth respectively with American star Gerloff missing out in seventh spot by just three tenths at the end of the race. Despite missing out on seventh place, Gerloff’s points, coupled with teammate Kohta Nozane finishing in 14th place, was enough for GRT Yamaha to claim the Best Independent Teams’ title in 2021.
Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) and Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) battled it out for ninth place in the closing stages of the race with just eight tenths separating the duo as they crossed the line. Bautista, a race winner at San Juan for Ducati but making his first appearance on Honda machinery in Argentina, battled back from 15th place after missing out on a top-nine spot in the morning Tissot Superpole Race.
Bautista’s Team HRC teammate, Leon Haslam, was 11th with both Team HRC riders taking points for the team’s first appearance at San Juan. Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed 12th place ahead of Spanish compatriot Isaac Viñales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in 13th with Viñales showing strong pace throughout the weekend. Nozane took 14th place with home hero Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado 15th (MIE Racing Honda Team) – coming home with points despite running wide at turn one late on in the race.
Irish rider Eugene Laverty (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), still standing in for Tom Sykes, finishing in 16th place and half-a-second clear of Christophe Ponsson (Gil Motor Sport-Yamaha) in 17th and Samuele Cavalieri (Barni Racing Team) in 18th. Two Argentinean riders finished in 19th and 20th with OUTDO TPR Team Pedercini Racing duo Luciano Ribodino and Marco Solorza rounding out the field.
Race Two Podium (Full Results Here)
1 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +2.428s
3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) +3.834s
Championship Standings After Round 12 (Full Standings Here)
1 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) 531
2 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) 501
3 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 465