WorldSBK Argentina Race 1 Results: Bautista wins as 6 riders withdraw

Alvaro Bautista rides around the drama to win his 16th WorldSBK race in Argentina as six riders refuse to start over conditions at San Juan Villicum

Alvaro Bautista - Ducati

Alvaro Bautista claimed victory in one of the more farcical WorldSBK races in history after six riders refused to race over to the San Juan Villicum’s ‘dangerous’ track conditions, leaving just 12 bikes on the grid.

In extraordinary scenes, a heated meeting between riders and race director Gregorio Lavilla prior to the race attempted to drum up support for a mass walkout in protest at the circuit, which looked like it might succeed after being backed by Jonathan Rea, the only Superbike representative in the riders’ safety commission.

However, when Rea and Leon Haslam went back on that original agreement – reportedly because Kawasaki said they are obligated by their contracts – the race would go ahead with 12 starters.

Those that didn’t make the start were: Chaz Davies, Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri, Sandro Cortese and Ryuichi Kiyonari. Loris Baz was also a non-starter after injuring his wrist in a crash during Superpole.

Why are the WorldSBK riders refusing to race?

At the heart of the complaints is the dusty surface, which has received universal criticism from riders, who say it is too dangerous to venture anywhere outside of a slim racing line. 

However, rising temperatures made matters worse as oil rose to the asphalt to make even the racing line dicey and meant Superpole lap times were slower than free practice.

Explaining why certain riders didn’t race, Camier and Laverty will have likely favoured caution as they are still grappling with injuries from earlier in the season, while Melandri wouldn’t have risked it in his penultimate event before retirement.

Davies later came out in full criticism of the FIM for allowing the event to go ahead, saying ‘we shouldn’t be racing here’ and taking particular aim at Rea for going back on his agreement believing it would have prompted others to back his decision.

Read the full story – and explosive quotes - HERE

Alvaro Bautista rides around the controversy to win

Amid the drama, Bautista collected his 16th win of the season, coming out on top after a fierce early tussle with Rea, all-but-sealing his runners-up spot in the standings.

Rea had the better start from a strangely depleted grid, but after running wide and making contact with Bautista, slipped behind Michael van der Mark, before recovering the lead again with Bautista also dispatching the Yamaha man

However, though Bautista made his own mistake to run wide, Rea did the same as they entered the back straight, the loss of momentum allowing the Ducati to sweep through.

From here, Rea applied intense pressure to stay on the Ducati’s back wheel – particularly through the bends – but would be constantly frustrated to see Bautista’s straight line speed advantage pull him clear again.

Rea did eventually get the pass down with 14 laps to go coming onto the back straight, only to be overtaken again, before a mistake lost him two seconds to the Spaniard and with it the win.

Behind them, Razgatlioglu hounded Rea in the closing stages before settling for third place, ahead of van der Mark and Lowes.

In a stretched field, Leon Haslam climbed from an effective 14th on the grid for sixth, ahead of Tom Sykes and Jordi Torres, while Leandro Mercado gave the bemused local crowd something to cheer in ninth. Alessandro Delbianco secured a rare top ten for Honda in tenth, with Markus Reiterberger and Michael Ruben Rinaldi completing the classification as all 12 starters would be classified. 

2019 WorldSBK Argentina Race 1 Results

Argentinean WorldSBK, San Juan Villicum - Race Results (1)
1Alvaro Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R21 Laps
2Jonathan ReaGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR+1.562
3Toprak RazgatliogluTURKawasaki Puccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR+3.327
4Michael van der MarkNEDPata YamahaYamaha YZF R1+16.996
5Alex LowesGBRPata YamahaYamaha YZF R1+22.535
6Leon HaslamGBRKawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR+25.840
7Tom SykesGBRBMW WorldSBK TeamBMW S1000RR+31.928
8Jordi TorresESPTeam Pedercini Racing KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR+41.819
9Leandro MercadoARGOrelac Racing VerdNatura KawasakiKawasaki ZX-10RR+46.835
10Alessandro DelbiancoITAAlthea Mie Racing Team HondaHonda CBR1000RR+1 Lap
11Markus ReiterbergerGERBMW WorldSBK TeamBMW S1000RR+1 Lap
12Michael Ruben RinaldiITABarni Racing Team DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R+3 Laps
DNSChaz Racing DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R-
DNSSandro CorteseGERGRT YamahaYamaha YZF R1-
DNSMarco MelandriITAGRT YamahaYamaha YZF R1-
DNSLeon CamierGBRMoriwaki Althea HondaHonda CBR1000RR-
DNSRyuichi KiyonariJPNMoriwaki Althea HondaHonda CBR1000RR-
DNSEugene LavertyIRLTeam Goeleven DucatiDucati Panigale V4 R-
DNSLoris BazFRATen Kate SBK YamahaYamaha YZF R1-