Jonathan Rea sent more records tumbling as he became the first rider to win ten World Superbike races in succession with his fifth straight double in Argentina. The newly-crowned four-times champion dominated both races at the new Circuit San Juan Villicum, overcoming food poisoning overnight on Saturday night, to hand Kawasaki their fourth consecutive Manufacturer’s crown.
The honour of being the first ever polesitter at El Villicum went to Aruba Ducati’s Marco Melandri but the Italian’s hopes of converting it into victory faded as quickly as the red lights went out. Melandri lost the downhill drag race towards turn one and despite setting a blistering pace in Superpole, never had the consistent race pace to keep Rea in sight, only falling further adrift when drops of rain began to fall.
It was then that Chaz Davies came unstuck, losing the front end of his Ducati while jostling with Tom Sykes over sixth, although there was minimal damage done to his challenge to finish as championship runner-up with Michael van der Mark only eighth. Their struggles opened the door for the impressive Toprak Razgatlioglu to claim his second podium of the year in third with Xavi Fores beating Eugene Laverty to take fourth and, with it, race two pole.
The Spaniard made good use of his grid advantage on Sunday, pulling out a three-second lead while chaos reigned behind him. Rea had found life slightly tougher than normal in his charge through the field from the third row, illness and all, but the Ulsterman finally chased down the Barni Ducati on lap nine, securing a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Razgatlioglu had looked on course for a second podium of the weekend but the Turkish rookie tumbled down the order late on, falling to seventh behind Melandri, Davies, Sykes and Alex Lowes. Van der Mark finished next up in ninth, leaving him 24 points behind Davies heading into the final weekend in Qatar.
WorldSBK 2018: Riders’ Championship (24/26)
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WorldSBK 2018: Manufacturers’ Championship (24/26)
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