Since the arrival of the global pandemic all the FIM Superbike World Championship events have taken place in Europe but between 15 - 17 October the 4.276km long Circuito San Juan Villicum in Argentina will host the penultimate round of the 2021 championship.
Villicum is a relatively new track on the regular WorldSBK championship trail but a very fruitful one for Rea. Between 2018 and 2019 he has won four of the five races that have been held at the picturesque and ambitiously conceived racetrack just outside of the regional centre of San Juan.
Rea arrives at the Villicum venue 24 points behind championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu in the championship standings but with a morale-boosting Race Two victory to his credit during the most recent round at Portimao in Portugal.
After an injury-affected second KRT season for Alex Lowes he has been forced to miss races recently, despite showing truly competitive pace in qualifying. He heads to Argentina much-recovered after the intense run of three consecutive WorldSBK weekends. If declared fit to ride he is more than keen to compete well in all three Villicum races.
San Juan is four hours behind CET, with Saturday’s Race One set to take place at 15.00 local time in Argentina. The ten-lap Tissot-Superpole Race will take place at noon on Sunday 17 October, and Race Two at 15.00.
After Villicum the scheduled final WorldSBK round is planned to take place at an all-new Mandalika International Street Circuit venue on the Island of Lombok, Indonesia, between 19-21 November.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am very excited about the potential for Argentina. Villicum is a track that I have enjoyed in the past. It is relatively new to the WorldSBK calendar but I think I have won four out of the five races there. I enjoy the layout of the track; it is quite quirky. It seemed impossible to do flyaway rounds this year so credit to the San Juan Government, Dorna and everyone for making it happen. And all the teams as well, because it is really tough to plan a long haul round with all the restrictions - but we are going. I am looking forward to it. After feeling really good and strong on the bike in Portugal it is good to go to Argentina now and hopefully carry that confidence on. Of course, it is time to think about the championship. We need to keep that in our minds, work hard and try to decrease the deficit in points. The target is to come away from Argentina with a smaller deficit in the championship, to take the fight to the final round.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “It’s going to be great to do an overseas race for the first time since the pandemic started; big thanks to WorldSBK and everyone involved as I’m sure there has been a lot of organising going on to get us there! The layout of the Villicum track is one I really enjoy. I’ve been working hard to improve the condition of my hand and wrist and after missing most of the previous two events I’m excited to get back on the starting grid. The target as always is to be fighting for the podium, hopefully my physical condition allows me to do that as the last few events have confirmed we have the pace.”
Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will continue to substitute for the injured Lucas Mahias after riding a Kawasaki for the first time at the previous WorldSBK round in Portimao.
Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will arrive in Argentina sitting in 19th place overall, with a best result so far of tenth, which he took in the Tissot-Superpole race at the previous round. He has been a podium finisher at Villicum in the past, while racing in the WorldSSP championship, before moving up to WorldSBK this year.
Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) will miss the Villicum round through injury and will be replaced by Argentinian rider Marco Solorza. Former Argentinian Superbike champion Luciano Ribodino will also ride for the TPR Outdo Kawasaki team in Argentina this coming weekend.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 32, Wins 11, Podiums 25, Superpoles 8
Career Race Wins: 110 (95 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 210 (168 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 35 (31 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 28, Wins 0, Podiums 5, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 29 (9 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: 169 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 484 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 100 – second overall