World Superbike

Alvaro Bautista win overshadowed by rider concerns in Argentina

2 Mins read
Credit: WorldSBK.com

Alvaro Bautista took his sixteenth victory of the 2019 World Superbike season in bizarre fashion as a boycott from several riders took centre stage during the race. 

Six riders including Chaz Davies, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri, Sandro Cortese, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Leon Camier all refused to ride due to what they considered unsafe track conditions. 

Despite other riders involved during the meeting and voicing their concern, the FIM and Dorna announced that the race would go forward regardless. 

This led to some riders taking the difficult decision to go ahead and race, with Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres joining the grid just seconds before the pit lane closed. 

As the protests continued, the race got started with a reduced field of twelve riders involved. As the lights went out, it was Jonathan Rea who took the lead from Pole man Bautista heading into turn one

Conditions were far from perfect as sand, dust and heat looked to be affecting the track surface. It was visible in the early stages that the riders were being extremely cautious, as the lead swapped between Bautista and Rea on multiple occasions. 

The front of the race was a four way battle initially with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael Van Der Mark holding onto the leading duo. A few laps later the speed was significantly increasing, with all four riders swapping fastest laps and feeling more comfortable on the slippery circuit. 

Due to the increase in pace, Bautista and Rea started to edge away, with Van Der Mark losing considerable time to the three riders ahead. 

It looked like a battle for the lead would go down to the wire, but Rea was on the limit and made a mistake heading into turn seven which gave Bautista a two second gap. 

Bautista kept increasing the gap from that moment on, while Rea was under intense pressure from Razgatlioglu. The two-time winner at Magny-Cours tried his utmost to challenge Rea on the final lap, but the gap was just to big.

Van Der Mark came acrros the line in a lonely fourth, with teammate Alex Lowes finishing six second back. Lowes came under severe pressure from Haslam for fifth with 8 laps remaining, but managed to stay ahead after a mistake from the Kawasaki rider late on. 

Tom Sykes was one of a few riders to benefit from the protests, as the Motorrad BMW rider moved up a few spots to finish seventh ahead of Torres, home favorite Leandro Mercardo and Alessandro Delbianco in tenth.  

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