WorldSBK Argentina: Rea leads Razgatlioglu by 0.07s

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea rushed to the top of the WorldSBK timesheets this afternoon at San Juan but was kept honest by title tival and reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu.

The Pata Yamaha man was quickest with a fastest-ever lap this morning and Rea couldn’t quite match it this afternoon with a 1’37.707 as Razgatlioglu got himself to 0.071s with his last effort.

Points leader Alvaro Bautista was next along but the Aruba Ducati rider is almost three-tenths of a second in arrears on a 1’37.986.

It was a frantic second session on the opening day for Razgatlioglu who hit the ground running with good times, he was the rider to beat at the end of the day. Teammate Andrea Locatelli was also enjoying a good first day and was inside the top six in the afternoon and third in FP1. He didn’t improve his time and come the end of the day, finished in fifth. Neither Yamaha rider improved in the afternoon session.

Charging to the top of the FP2 standings before settling for second on the overall times, Rea was in good form too and pushed hard throughout the opening day. Rea was three tenths behind Razgatlioglu in the standings in FP1 but led the way by just under a tenth in the afternoon, where the Kawasaki ZX-10RR working well in the afternoon. Teammate Alex Lowes was also on the pace and finished fourth in FP2, leaving him fourth going into Saturday.

Bautista was fourth in the opening session of the day but improved his time by a couple of tenths of a second in FP2 as he got familiar with the San Juan circuit aboard Ducati machinery once again. One of the fastest in the speed trap, Bautista finished the day in third, nearly half a second down on Razgatlioglu. His teammate, Michael Rinaldi, had a rather quiet first day and having been ninth in the morning, he was only 12th at the end of the day, behind the Independent Ducati of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in sixth, the top independent.

It was a solid Friday in San Juan for Iker Lecuona (Team HRC), who got down to business swiftly at a circuit that he’s not visited before. The Valencian rider was top Honda in both sessions and took sixth in FP2, although he didn’t improve his time from FP1, when he was also sixth but nearly a second off; he finished the day in seventh on the combined times. He had a couple of dramas at turns eight and nine, one where he ran off track and the other when he was held up by Philipp Oettl (Team Goeleven). Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) didn’t get up to speed in the same manner as his teammate, with him being only P13.

Whilst being the fifth manufacturer, it was a decent start to the weekend for BMW riders, with three bikes inside the top ten – the only manufacturer to enjoy that on Friday. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was eighth and just over a second off, whilst his teammate Michael van der Mark was directly behind him and after 38 laps, just 0.054s split them at the end of the day. Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW) took tenth, with just over a tenth of a second covering the BMWs.

Just missing out on a top ten was Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha), with the American in 11th, whilst Eugene Laverty (Bonovo Action BMW) was 14th, a place ahead of Oettl. Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) took 16th ahead of the returning Xavi Fores (BARNI Spark Racing Team), Kohta Nozane (GRT Yamaha), home-hero Leandro Mercado (MIE Racing Honda Team) and Oliver Konig (Orelac Racing VerdNatura). Chilean rider Max Scheib (MIE Racing Honda Team) was 21st, one place ahead of wildcard Marco Solorza (TPR Team Pedercini Racing).

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Top ten speeds

1 97 X. VIERGE Honda CBR1000 RR-R 312,1
2 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4R 312,1
3 7 I. LECUONA Honda CBR1000 RR-R 310,3
4 60 M. VAN DER MARK BMW M1000RR 309,5
5 5 P. OETTL Ducati Panigale V4R 306,8
6 65 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 306,8
7 50 E. LAVERTY BMW M1000RR 305,9
8 45 S. REDDING BMW M1000RR 305,1
9 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4R 305,1
10 47 A. BASSANI Ducati Panigale V4R 305,1