Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was unable to fully exploit the pole position he had earned in Superpole as Jonathan Rea swept through to take the early lead at the new San Juan Villicum Circuit in Argentina.
During the fifth lap, hometown hero Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) crashed out of the race. Two laps later Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) crashing out.
In the meantime, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) overtook Tom Sykes to move into third place behind Melandri. Rea led the race with an advantage of more than two seconds over Melandri and four ahead of Laverty.
Another rider’s race ended early on the thirteenth lap. This time it was Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), hitting the deck.
There was a battle between Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Laverty for third, with the Turkish Kawasaki rider winning out in the end.
In the final laps, Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) was also forced to retire as a few drops of rain began to fall on sectors 3 and 4.
The leading positions remained unchanged and Jonathan Rea took his fifteenth win of the season, finishing ahead of Marco Melandri and, the first of the privateer riders, Toprak Razgatlioglu.
P1 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“Unbelievable. I’m so happy and thanks to all the fans who’ve stayed out today as there’s been so many people here. Expectations weren’t so high coming into this race in the middle of the season, but it’s an amazing job by the circuit managers, all the workers – the track is incredible and it’s so fun to ride. Kawasaki gave me a great bike today so thank you to them, it was incredible and I just finished the job they did, so thank you.”
P2 – Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“It was a very difficult race because it was so windy and Jonny had very quick race pace. The first few laps I struggled with the front tyre but then it started feeling better and I took some risks to try and catch Rea, but there was nothing I could do. I thought second place for me was like a win today – I want to say thanks to the guys in the garage and I’ll try to do better tomorrow.”
P3 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Pucetti Racing Team)
“I’m really happy. Friday was a good start, but taking pole position was too hard so we started seventh. We had a lot of fights at the start of the race, but I’m really happy to take the podium and tomorrow will not be easy I know.”
WSBK 2018 – Argentina – Circuito San Juan Villicum – Race 1
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +9.163
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +11.410
Kawasaki secure manufacturers world title
Kawasaki also secured the manufacturers world title for the fourth year in a row following another season of stunning domination. Finishing first or second in all but two races of 2018, their title defence was never at risk.
Entering the debut WorldSBK race back in 1988, Kawasaki have been regular podium finishers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but were never able to secure the manufacturers crown until the unstoppable duo of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea came along.
Taking 376 podiums, 125 victories, 120 fastest laps and 80 pole positions overall, Kawasaki are truly making their mark in the WorldSBK history books. Their first victory caem at the Hungaroring in 1988 with France’s Adrian Morillas, the 1990’s welcomed a successful run with Scott Russell. However, their recent surge of results came after signing Tom Sykes in 2012, and from there the success has not stopped.
Another British rider added to their successes, as Jonathan Rea joined the factory in 2015 and has smashed records along the way. Sykes shot them back into success, but Rea was able to add to their tallies, and the combination of the British duo has proven to be a strong one. Helping to take Kawasaki to the top of the manufacturers standings in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – alongside others – they have been Ninjas on their ninjas.
Aiming to top what was a stunning 2017 has proven difficult, but the green machines have been making a good effort at doing so.
Overtaking Honda in the all-time win records this season, Kawasaki firmly have Honda in their sights as they look to overtake their all-time podiums record, as well as equal their world titles at the end of this season.
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