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22 October 2022

Battling Second In Race One For Rea

The opening 21-lap FIM Superbike World Championship race at the Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina was a dramatic affair, with Jonathan Rea able to fight from his front row starting place to be second at the flag. Alex Lowes (KRT) was sixth in the race, securing valuable championship points.

The first lap of WorldSBK Race One provided an immediate moment of intensity as title challenger Toprak Razgatlioglu crashed at Turn 9, just in front of Rea and just behind points leader Alvaro Bautista. Razgatlioglu would restart but finish only 15th, scoring one point.

As the chasing pack recovered track position Rea was in the lead for a lap and then would chase the rider who passed him, Axel Bassani, for six laps. When Bautista passed Rea and Bassani he took the leading position and kept it until the end.

Rea was involved in a tough fight with Bassani for most of the race, usually riding in third place. Ultimately Jonathan used all his pace and experience to make a final pass with three laps to go, running out a clear second at the flag.

Rea had qualified second fastest in Superpole earlier in the day, only just pipped for pole position by Razgatlioglu after the lead and new track best lap times had been swapped between the top riders on several occasions.

Lowes’ race was largely determined by his ninth place Superpole qualifying result. Eighth on lap one, he jumped up to his eventual sixth place finishing position on lap six. Unable to pass other riders he took ten points for his latest top six finish.

The opening 21-lap race was held in relatively warm ambient conditions, but with hot track temperatures of over 50°C on the asphalt.

Two more Villicum races await Rea and Lowes, on Sunday 23 October, with the ten-lap Superpole Race and then a 21-lap Race Two completing the Superbike action.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “Qualifying was amazing, even though I didn’t get pole position. The lap was top drawer, no mistakes, and we got the best out of the bike. It was just not enough because Toprak did that little bit extra. I was happy to be on the front row and potentially we could have led the race into Turn One but I let Toprak go ahead. After the first lap Alvaro dropped back but then Bassani came through and I was just calm, waiting, as he was doing a good pace at that point of the race. Alvaro came past when I was trying to go through on Bassani, but I couldn’t pass anywhere. Without stuffing Axel, it was impossible to pass. I was stuck and then I had to really grind him down, wait until his tyres were moving a little bit towards the end and then plot my move. It was all I could do to finish second. It feels good to come out top in the battle with Bassani but when I was riding with him I couldn’t really do what I wanted to do. On the penultimate lap I did one of the fastest laps of the race, by myself, and with a clear track in front. I saw on the last lap I had a gap back to Axel and no chance to get to Bautista, so I just brought the bike home.”

Alex Lowes, stated: “The race was stuffed after the Superpole, really. I made a pretty good lap on the first qualifying tyre but I knew I could do a bit better. On the second tyre I had a false neutral on one lap then on the second lap there were yellow flags, so game over. If I had started the race in the mix with the top few riders I would have finished with them. I was riding with people who were slower than me but I couldn’t do anything to pass. Halfway through the race I got some clear track and I was lapping faster than Lecuona and Rinaldi and at a similar pace to Bassani. I rode well enough to challenge for the podium, same as the last races, but because of the qualifying I couldn’t do it.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was a confident 11th in Race One, Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) was 19th and local rider Marco Solorza (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) 21st.

2022 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2022: Races 28, Wins 5, Podiums 22, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 117 (102 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 237 (195 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 40 (36 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2022: Races: 27, Wins 0, Podiums 2, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 31 (11 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)

8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 176 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 513 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 105 – second overall

                                                 #NinjaSpirit