Under greying skies and in front of an enthusiastic crowd Rea had started from second position on the grid and Sykes fourth after Superpole qualifying.
Rea launched strongly into the downhill first corner and took a lead that he was to enjoy for the entire race, setting a new lap record of 1’39.175 and coming very close to breaking the Superpole record in the process.
High winds were a factor for all riders to deal with and even occasional spots of rain appeared for a time. The threat of heavier rain passed and in the final laps Rea was able to bring it home with an eventual advantage of 9.163 seconds to the second placed rider, Marco Melandri.
For Sykes, a positive start off the line made sure he would be third until lap five, but as the race progressed three riders – including podium finisher Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) - would push ahead and Sykes secured a sixth place.
Tom enjoyed greater pace than his rivals on the last laps and was closing-in before the chequered flag brought the 21-lap race to a conclusion.
In the Manufacturers’ Championship Kawasaki has an unassailable lead of 92 points, with a maximum of 75 points left to play for. This was the fourth Manufacturers’ Championship win in succession for Kawasaki.
The second Villicum race will take place on Sunday the 14th of October, in a 16.00 starting slot, local time in Argentina.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) secured his second podium finish of the season, in confident and committed fashion. Following on from his second place at Donington Park in May, the rookie rider once more made progress at the sharp end of WorldSBK competition. His third place saw him 11.410 seconds from Rea’s winning race time.
Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) qualified strongly but was unfortunate to fall in his home race and no-score. Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was 12th today and Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) also scored points for 14th.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was an incredible way to do it today. To take the manufacturers’ championship with a race win was really nice. Especially to win for the first time in Villicum and Argentina. It is a technical track, it has got everything. I was always worried about coming here because everyone starts from an equal base. The teams that react the fastest, and make the best setup in a short space of time, are the ones that would do well. There was a lot of side wind today and it was buffeting me around a lot. There were spots of rain at one time and I just tried to convince myself it was not raining. The facilities, the new track, the spectators; it has been a pretty awesome weekend so far.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “We were doing 1’40 flat lap times at the end of the race so the consistency is there or thereabouts. I just feel that we are not getting the best out of it in the early laps. Up until about lap five, certainly. The bike did not feel too far away, really. In the series of changes of direction – and here there are a lot of changes of direction here – I just did not have the confidence to put the bike hard on its side and make the throttle connection. Towards the end of the race my tyres seemed to be staying better than the guys in front were. They had passed me mid-race but in the end we were closing them down again. Congratulations to Kawasaki for winning the Manufacturers’ Championship today.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018
2018: Races 23, Wins 15, Podiums 20, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 69 (54 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 132 (90 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 23, Wins 1, Podiums 7, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 107 (106 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 47 (47 for Kawasaki)
6 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
4 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017 & 2018)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 125 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 377 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 80 – second overall