EL VILLICUM, Argentina – Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea claimed his fifth consecutive double victory of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season on Sunday at Circuito San Juan Villicum.
Rea was forced to dig deep to take the Argentinian double ahead of Xavi Fores, but now holds the record for most consecutive wins in a World Superbike season, beating Colin Edwards and Neil Hodgson’s previous streak of nine victories in a row.
The opening laps on Sunday were among the most chaotic of the entire season. Fores was quick off the mark from the pole, but his partners on the front row suffered much worse fates. Tom Sykes immediately fell to the fringes of the top 10, while Eugene Laverty crashed out on lap three while riding in second place.
Rea’s race start went less smoothly than it did on Saturday, as well. A strong start pushed him up into the top five at the lights, but a succession of mistakes through the end of lap one and the first half of lap two saw him lose positions to Alex Lowes and Chaz Davies.
The Argentinian fans would not have to wait long for the comeback, however. Rea moved past Davies after the Welshman went in too hot at turn one, then made good use of the back straight slipstream to edge smoothly past Lowes.
Meanwhile, a bruising battle for fourth saw Davies, Marco Melandri and Lowes exchange places turn after turn.
At the four-lap mark, Fores had already opened a three-second gap, taking advantage of Rea’s troubled start. It didn’t last, though. At a rate of nearly a second per lap, Rea caught up with the Spaniard and fought his way through to the front on lap eight.
Fores immediately pounced back at the back straight, but the Kawasaki’s pace was too much on the day and the weekend and, after moving back into the front half a lap later, Rea blasted into the lead and head-first to his 10th consecutive win.
A cool second for Fores meant that he secured the official independent riders championship, thanks to his fifth podium of the year. Melandri managed to return to the rostrum after a fantastic race-long duel with Davies, who finished fourth.
Sykes managed to climb back to fifth following a strong second half to his race.
Local hero Leandro Mercado managed to finish in 12th after crashing on Saturday.