WorldSBK Argentina: Razgatlioglu marmalises lap record for pole

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Reigning WorldSBK king Toprak Razgatlioglu has marmalised the existing WorldSBK lap record at San Juan to take pole position for this afternoon’s opening race.

The Pata Yamaha man set a 1’36.216 - more than a second faster than Scott Redding’s 2021 time of 1’37.345 - with his last lap of the session to depose Jonathan Rea who had topped the sheet with a 1’36.449.

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba Ducati) set the fastest ever Superpole lap with his first flier which setting the tone for the electric session that would come. One of the next laps was by Razgatlioglu who on his first flying lap, obliterated the lap record that he’d already set in FP3 with a 1’36.687, the first-ever 1’36 lap by a motorcycle at San Juan.

Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was second after the first run, with Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) a surprise in third as he set his lap behind Razgatlioglu, with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Bautista rounding out the top five with seven minutes remaining on the clock.

For the final run, it was the Ducatis of Bautista and teammate Michael Rinaldi who hit the track, with Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team), with the returning Spaniard hoping to latch on to the factory bikes for a fast lap. Once again, Rea led Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) out of the pits in the second stint, as the two Brits worked together.

Meanwhile, Rinaldi bailed out of his first lap as he had Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) who was in his way. Bautista bolted in a rapid time for provisional pole but now, Rea, Razgatlioglu, Baz, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Redding were all on fast laps. Rea went to the top with a 1’36.449, whilst Redding took fourth.

There was big drama for Loris Baz, who crashed at turn 2 on his final flying lap, meaning yellow flags were out for the riders coming through the site. Razgatlioglu was on his final flying lap but just ahead, and he was on a massive lap, with the reigning World Champion digging deep as he chased a first pole since Assen. Across the line and Razgatlioglu smashed in a new lap record once again, with a 1’36.216 seeing him lead the field, exactly one second quicker than his FP3 lap record. Rea in the end had to settle for second ahead of Alvaro Bautista, with the titanic trio locking out the front row.

Fourth place went to the Honda of Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), with it being a dazzling display considering it is his first time in San Juan. Scott Redding concluded the session in fifth for BMW, meaning five different manufacturers packed out the top five; it’s the 22nd time in WorldSBK history that it had happened and the first time since Phillip Island in 2020. BMWs day was bettered when Baz held onto sixth and took top Independent honours, meaning he’ll be in a good position to try and get in the mix come the races.

Heading up the third row, top Independent in the Championship – Axel Bassani – took seventh, a disappointment considering he took his only front of his career at the circuit 12 months ago. Eighth place went the way of Rinaldi, who was only just ahead of Alex Lowes, both of whom will be dejected with a third row start. Completing the top ten, Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) found form and made a step compared to Friday.

Outside of the top ten, Andrea Locatelli will be disappointed with 11th, ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) who completes the fourth row. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th, ahead of Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) in 14th who took a best Superpole of the year, ahead of Kohta Nozane (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) in 15th, whilst it was Xavi Fores in 16th, whilst Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven) was only 17th, ahead of Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW), home-hero Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). Chilean Max Scheib (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Argentine wildcard Marco Solorza (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) rounded out the grid.

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