Saturday in Argentina started well with Jake Gagne ending Free Practice 4 in seventh place, ahead of many of the riders he was set to face in Superpole 1. Times were tight in the following session, Gagne unfortunately forced to settle for fourth and a fourteenth place grid position. Red Bull Honda WorldSBK teammate Leon Camier found time in Superpole 2 with fresh tyres, a 1’40.189 earning him tenth on the grid for Race 1.
From their respective starting positions of tenth and fourteenth, Camier and Gagne both held their ground in the opening corners. The pair settled into their rhythm quickly with the top ten in their sights. Camier had been leading the charge to close the gap to the group ahead, but a moment on lap five dropped him to fourteenth. Unfortunately, the bad luck continued as just a lap later Jake Gagne fell at Turn 5, ending his chances of scoring points.
After the early race incident, Camier rallied and set a series of personal best laps to move back through the field. He soon caught Loris Baz and the two began a heated battle for tenth place, Camier opened up a half second lead with eight laps remaining as he tried to escape. The two battled right until the close of the race, Camier crossing the line in tenth and only 0.047s behind Baz after a late move from the French rider.
With his six points from tenth place, Camier holds 108 championship points and is twelfth in the championship standings, while Gagne remains seventeenth in the riders championship on 51 points.
Race 2 tomorrow will start at 1600 local time (GMT -3), both riders ready to improve their fortunes and show their strong race pace.
Leon Camier 2
It was a pretty tough race. I was having a bit of a battle with van der Mark and he passed me and just stayed beside me so I couldn’t turn in to hit the apex and had nowhere to go as I was on the dirty part of the track. I lost a lot of time there but then came back and got into the rhythm, we did our best laps right at the end of the race. That’s a bit strange so we need to keep working to understand why it’s happening. The bike was feeling about the same as the guys around me, some places I was stronger and some places weaker. I made a couple of little mistakes on the last few laps trying to keep Baz at bay and then he got close enough to put a pass on me. Fair play to him, he made it stick and it was a good move. Still work to do.
Jake Gagne 45
It was about an easy a get off as I could have had, I just slid off so luckily I’m all OK. The race was going OK before that, I didn’t get the best start but I was dicing with a couple of guys before making a couple of little passes stick. I got into my rhythm and then got caught off guard at Turn 5 and maybe opened the gas a little too hard, the rear came around and it just kept going. A weird little clash, but that’s how it goes and we’ll learn from it and see if we can make some improvements for tomorrow. Our goal is the top ten for tomorrow. I felt good today, I was smooth and the bike was working well. There’s a couple of little things we’ll try to improve for tomorrow but overall we were happy with how things were going. That’s racing.
We didn’t fully deliver on both sides of the garage. It was especially hard for Jake, he was for sure having his best weekend so we had high expectations for him. He pushed a bit too hard on the corner exit and lost the rear, so he was on the limit but I think he can take a lot of positives from it as his race pace was very strong. He will regroup for tomorrow, he needs to stay focused and do the same again as his weekend was really good. For Leon, we had higher expectations before he ran off the track and lost a lot of time and places. From what we saw in FP3 we were hoping for around seventh place so that will be the goal for tomorrow. We learn from today and start again tomorrow.”