Lowes leads in Circuito San Juan Villicum opening

Friday, 12 October 2018 13:39 GMT

Argentinian Round gets going with WorldSBK riders still learning new circuit

Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) was the fastest man in Free Practice 1 at the Circuito San Juan Villicum, as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders tried to get up to speed with the brand-new circuit. With absolutely no point of reference, the Yamaha rider showed that he is a fast learner, taking P1 in the morning session with a best lap of 1’44.096.

It was sunny skies and all in all perfect conditions for World Superbike’s first ever laps around the Argentinian track. While the rest of the field tested the new track tentatively, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was fast off the marks, setting a first lap time of 1’49 – a whole five seconds faster than anyone else out on track at that time. As rubber began to set on the new tarmac however, that first benchmark would soon be beaten, with up to nine riders improving on the Northern Irishman’s lap time at the halfway mark.

Rea would bounce back to the top of the timesheets with ten minutes left on the clock but was eventually overtaken by Lowes 2’40 minutes before the checkered flag. The 2018 champion would settle for second in FP1, just edging out an impressive Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in third.

Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who both led at different points of the session, followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, with Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) in sixth.

Seventh went to Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) after a slow start, followed by Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in eighth. Home hero Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had a promising start in his own Argentinian debut, taking ninth, with Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) closing out the top ten.

We’ll be back shortly for Free Practice 2 at 12:35 local time (15:35 GMT), with live timing available here on And catch all the highlights of today’s action thanks to WorldSBK VideoPass.