Leon Camier and Eugene Laverty have explained why they were part of the group of riders who opted out of the opening Argentina World Superbike race and how the Riders’ Safety Commission offered an alternative solution as ‘90% of riders did not want to race’.

In what is turning out to be an increasingly controversial Argentina round at Circuito San Juan Villicum, six riders sat out the opening World Superbike race over safety concerns while another 12 riders took part in the race which was won by Alvaro Bautista.

Camier was joined by Eugene Laverty, Chaz Davies, Ryuichi Kiyonari, Marco Melandri and Sandro Cortese in missing the race – while Loris Baz was forced out with injury sustained in qualifying – with the riders who missed the race feeling the circuit was unsafe to race on in dusty and hot conditions.

Chaz Davies revealed to Eurosport the circuit was only given FIM homologation on Wednesday before this weekend despite some questionable issues with track conditions and planned improvements.

Davies is a member of the World Superbike Safety Commission along with Camier, Laverty, Jonathan Rea and Randy Krummenacher (as World Supersport representative) who are part of the process in assessing safety standards in the championship.

Camier says the track’s problems were known “many months before” and despite World Superbike organisers’ best efforts with the riders to resolve the safety concerns he felt the opening race should not have gone ahead.

“We’ve ridden when the track has been phenomenally filthy and tried to do our thing, clean the track, do the best we can and we have been put in a situation that we should not have been put in,” Camier told Eurosport.

“We have then ridden in the hot conditions and found out just before the race that the FIM showed us pictures of the circuit with oil coming up through the track, you can pick it out with your hands, the ground is not staying together so it is not right.

“We’ve also ridden in the hot conditions on Friday when we could not even get our knee down. It is similar to conditions now where there is no control, we have no control over the bike, we’ve all had massive moments this weekend.

“Loris has broken his wrist because of it in the Superpole session and before the race we had 90% of riders said no they do not want to race so we’ve all been pretty adamant that this is not safe.

“We can pootle around and do whatever but in a race situation it doesn’t work like that. What happens if someone does get hurt, then what happens? The point of this whole Safety Commission is to take responsibility, we have pressure from teams, from everyone and we want to go and ride that is why we are here. This is what we do. To put all the pressure on us is just wrong. It is just not safe for us.

“This is not a game, there are people’s lives at stake at the end of the day and the reality is we shouldn’t have been racing today.”

Laverty has given a blunt view on the situation as he feels race organisers “did something very underhand” by getting team managers to pressure their riders into racing, which he felt was the main reason the majority of riders took part in the race.

“They went and did something very underhand, they went to the team managers put pressure on us altogether to try and race. Then we put together us riders, we had 90% of the riders together, and that was sorted before the race,” Laverty said.

“There are always going to be a few fellas that want to ride. Rinaldi wanted to ride for whatever reason, but we had guys like the world champion Johnny Rea with us, stood there ready to support us. He didn’t want to ride, Alex Lowes didn’t want to ride, so there weren’t many riders that wanted to.

“I’m really disappointed in Johnny Rea, he is our representative as the world champion, he needed more backbone, he made a very spineless decision to go and race. It’s something I will speak to him about afterwards.”

Camier also feels the alternatives offered fell on deaf ears with World Superbike organisers. The Moriwaki Althea Honda rider explained the idea to run both full distance races on Sunday in the cooler conditions forecasted for tomorrow.

“We also pushed for two races tomorrow as tomorrow conditions will be colder and from this morning that conditions will be a lot better. We know that it is acceptable in cooler conditions,” he said.

“We tried to compromise, we suggested last night, we knew tomorrow was going to be hot and if it is we don’t race and we do two full length races on Sunday when the conditions are 12 degrees cooler,” Laverty added. “That is still the case, I plan to race tomorrow, this little rebellion is only about this race and mostly the organisers have let us down.”

Questions have also been raised about track improvements requested since the World Superbike championships’ first round at the Argentinean track 12 months ago.

“The asphalt level isn’t homologated to an FIM standard,” Laverty said. “The guys that surfaced the track, they didn’t put the correct mix and that is why it is coming up at a certain temperature. When the conditions were cool I did a lap in the 1min 41s and when it were hot I did a 1m 50s, that’s nine seconds, like wet conditions. The track is not up to standard.”

The current World Superbike schedule for Sunday remains unchanged with the standard warm-up sessions for both the Superbike and Supersport classes before the Superpole Sprint race (13:00 local time), the World Supersport race (14:15 local time) and the World Superbike Race 2 (16:00 local time).

 

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