The final race of the weekend at the Motul Argentinean Round was a thrilling spectacle, with plenty of hard action and big moves all the way through the pack. Despite making his own mistakes and needing to fight in the early stages, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) romped to win number two of the weekend, holding off the opposition.
Off the start and into Turn 1, Jonathan Rea held on to his first position, whilst Alvaro Bautista (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) battled behind. Sandro Cortese (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK) was a fast starter and into fourth, whilst Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and his teammate Michael van der Mark were fifth and sixth. Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) had dropped to seventh.
With the race beginning to take shape, Rea pulled away from Bautista, whilst Toprak Razgatliolgu was as relentless as ever, chasing down Bautista. Bautista and Rea in-turn were trading fastest lap times. Chaz Davies had picked off the Yamahas ahead of him one by one, using the top speed advantage of the Ducati Panigale V4 R down the long straights of San Juan to good effect. The next target for the Welshman was Razgatlioglu, who was going to need to fight hard to resist the former WorldSBK runner-up.
There was drama up front for Rea, who made a big mistake at Turn 8 and ran completely off the circuit, allowing Bautista to take the lead for the first time. However, Rea wouldn’t give in and a lap later, on Lap 8, Rea fought back and pushed his way back to the front at Turn 7, shoving Bautista wide. The squabble between the two heavyweights allowed Razgatlioglu and Davies to close up.
With 13 laps left to go, Davies took third from Razgatlioglu with a strong move at Turn 10 on the Turkish rider. The former WorldSSP Champion from 2011 was now a move on a mission and soon, caught his teammate. Bautista tried to fight but Davies powered ahead of his teammate two laps later to take second. 2.6s to close down on the race leader, Davies had plenty of work to keep him occupied for the remainder of the race.
Bautista however was in more problems and with 9 laps to go, as Toprak Razgatlioglu had regrouped and was immediately able to get ahead of the Spaniard, sweeping around the outside at Turn 2 to take third from the Race 1 winner. Bautista was losing time to Michael van der Mark hand over fist and needed to get to the end of the 26-year-old Dutchman got him.
Further down the field, Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was having an incredible race, climbing all the way up to the fringes of the top ten. The home hero picked off Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) and at Turn 10 with eight laps left, dived up the inside of factory Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam to take eighth place. A lap later, and Eugene Laverty (Team Goeleven) was up ahead of Haslam and Torres. Ahead of all of them, Michael Ruben Rinaldi (BARNI Racing Team) was a sitting duck.
With four laps to go, Mercado got ahead of Rinaldi at Turn 15, sparking a massive roar from the partisan crown trackside. However, Laverty got ahead of the pair of them on the front straight, pushing Mercado back to eighth whilst the Irishman went in pursuit of his best result since Aragon. In terms of Mercado, he had come from 19th to eighth; an astonishing comeback.
Out front on the final lap, Jonathan Rea was uncatchable and took victory for a fourth time in Argentina and now, extended his consecutive point-scoring finishes run to 45 – the first time a rider has ever achieved this. Chaz Davies was up into second whilst Toprak Razgatlioglu completed a stellar weekend with another podium, his sixth in seven races. Fourth belonged to Michael van der Mark whilst Alvaro Bautista limped home to complete the top five. Alex Lowes was up to sixth.
Eugene Laverty put in a strong ride up to seventh, but ride of the day went to home-hero Mercado, who stormed from last on the grid to eighth, much to the delight of the crowd. Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing) was ninth ahead of Leon Haslam in 10th. Sandro Cortese slipped to 15th, having run as high as fourth in the early stages.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“After a difficult weekend, I think we got the bike right today and I felt really good, so massive thanks to my crew. We were still suffering in some area but in the rest of the track, my ZX-10RR was working so well. Thanks to all the fans to come to see us, I am happy we were able to put on a good show for them. Now I will enjoy a good time with my team in Argentina and I can’t wait to be back into action in Qatar”.
P2 – Chaz Davies (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati)
“I didn’t know what to expect today because the track has been changing so much. My bike work really good in the race. I got such a terrible start, and maybe it was my worst start of the year so far. I had to come through, and I used quite a bit of the tyre. I felt like I had an excellent pace and Johnny was getting even closer, but unfortunately, I run out of grip towards the end of the race, but overall I can’t complain about that. I am pleased, and I feel like it was a solid performance to end the weekend”.
P3 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing)
“This weekend we were able to achieve three podiums, and we are happy with that. We tried a different setup for Race 2, but it didn’t work well as at the end of the race tyres were completely destroyed. These points are important for the championship because now we really close to the third position in the standings”.