— Melandri reels in Biaggi after assured double win
Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) made a real play for the 2012 eni FIM Superbike World Championship title today by putting in a double win of the highest quality, overcoming Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in both 20-lap contests at the classically sculpted Brno circuit. This was Melandri’s first double as an SBK rider and the first double for the official BMW team. In front of a three-day crowd of 63,129 and despite rain appearing in the morning, Melandri started from the second row in each race to overhaul long time leader Sykes. The English rider was full of fight at one of his favourite tracks, particularly in race two, but could not contain Melandri, who successfully pegged back the championship lead of Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) to a much more manageable 21 points, while in a historic day for BMW the German squad now heads the Manufacturers’ standings, by two points from Aprilia.
Melandri worked his way through from a mid-pack position in a race that started with many wet patches on the circuit, but finished in blazing sunshine. Sykes finished second and his team-mate, 19-year-old French rookie Loris Baz third, after a confident early few laps in tricky conditions. Any chance Sykes had of getting back at Melandri for the win was dashed when he and Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) collided entering a corner near the end of the race and Rea crashed out spectacularly. Checa was fourth and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) fifth, with Biaggi a distant sixth. Another great ride came from Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) who led for some time in tricky early conditions and finished the race ninth at his team’s home round.
Marco Melandri: “It was an amazing race. At the beginning everyone was careful because it was wet and they were on slicks. Then I was seventh or eighth but was catching the other guys and all I had to do was keep my rhythm. When I went in front with one lap and a half to go I just had to keep pushing without thinking of the others because I knew I was faster than them.”
Tom Sykes: “It was a shame to not lead the lap that counts, but I’m happy to be back on the podium with Kawasaki. At Brno you spend a lot of time on the side of the tyre but we did a great job and came away with 20 points. Unfortunately we gambled at the beginning of the race with a softer front tyre so I wasn’t able to attack the corners from 10 laps onwards, and when Marco passed me I had no answer.”
Loris Baz: “It’s great and I can’t believe it! The race was just perfect for me, I knew we had a good pace in the wet so just tried to do the best possible. Then my race pace was quite good compared to the other guys, we just had some problems with the front. The last lap was not easy but I am really happy, the team did a great job”.
Brno – FIM Superbike World Championship – Race 1
01- Marco Melandri – BMW Motorrad Motorsport – BMW S1000RR
02- Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team – Kawasaki ZX-10R
03- Loris Baz – Kawasaki Racing Team – Kawasaki ZX-10R
04- Carlos Checa – Althea Racing – Ducati 1198
05- Eugene Laverty – Aprilia Racing Team – Aprilia RSV4 Factory
06- Max Biaggi – Aprilia Racing Team – Aprilia RSV4 Factory
07- Leon Haslam – BMW Motorrad Motorsport – BMW S1000RR
08- Michel Fabrizio – BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet – BMW S1000RR
09- Maxime Berger – Team Effenbert Liberty Racing – Ducati 1198
10- Jakub Smrz – Team Effenbert Liberty Racing – Ducati 1198
11- Chaz Davies – ParkinGO MTC Racing – Aprilia RSV4 Factory
12- Alex Polita – Red Devils Roma – Ducati 1198
13- Norino Brignola – Grillini Progea Superbike Team – BMW S1000RR
14- Leon Camier – FIXI Crescent Suzuki – Suzuki GSX-R 1000
15- John Hopkins – FIXI Crescent Suzuki – Suzuki GSX-R 1000
16- Lorenzo Zanetti – PATA Racing Team – Ducati 1198
17- Viktor Kispataki – Prop-tech Ltd – Honda CBR 1000RR
18- David Salom – Team Pedercini – Kawasaki ZX-10R
Melandri scored a historic double after winning the second 20-lap race, but only by a fraction. The Italian rider made a final pass on long time leader Sykes on the final lap and had just enough of a gap in the final few corners to make sure the English rider would finish runner-up, if by only 0.140 seconds. Checa had an eventual third place finish with championship leader Biaggi a lonely fourth. Laverty won a duel for fifth with Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) and Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) but was unhappy not to be able to challenge for a podium place.
Marco Melandri: “I’m living in a dream, it’s a first time for me to get a double win! It’s something amazing at this track where nobody expected these results. It’s also fantastic to see BMW leading the constructors’ championship and it makes me very proud. No one expected we could catch Max and I’m still 21 points behind him in the table but we have to think day by day and today I’m enjoying my day!”
Tom Sykes: “It’s fair to say we made another big leap forward this weekend, but unfortunately Marco spoiled my day yet again. Hopefully payback is on its way! It was a big improvement compared to what everyone expects from us. Marcel and the team made a small change for race 2 and it played its part in keeping me consistent throughout the race so it was nice to prove a few people wrong.”
Carlos Checa: “Overall it was a good weekend. Race 1 was very complicated in the middle of many riders so fourth position was a good result. In race 2 I started third behind Marco and Tom but till the end I was able to keep my position. Considering this track and that we lose a lot in acceleration overall they are good results for us.”
Brno – FIM Superbike World Championship – Race 2
1. Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R
3. Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) Ducati 1098R
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
6. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing) Aprilia RSV4 Factory
7. Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) BMW S1000 RR
8. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team) Kawasaki ZX-10R
9. Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR
11. Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing) Ducati 1198R
12. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR
13. Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert) Ducati 1198R
14. John Hopkins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) Suzuki GSX-R1000
15. Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing) Ducati 1098R
16. Lorenzo Zanetti (PATA Racing Team) Ducati 1098R
17. Norino Brignola (Grillini Progea Superbike Team) BMW S1000 RR
18. Viktor Kispataki (Prop-tech ltd) Honda CBR1000RR
RT. Alessandro Polita (Red Devils Roma) Ducati 1098R
RT. Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) BMW S1000 RR
RT. David Salom (Team Pedercini) Kawasaki ZX-10R
RT. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) Honda CBR1000RR
Points (after 9 of 14 rounds): 1. Biaggi 271.5; 2. Melandri 250.5; 3. Sykes 212.5; 4. Checa 204.5; 5. Rea 187; 6. Haslam 160; 7. Laverty 148; 8. Guintoli 110; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 292; 2. Aprilia 290; 3. Ducati 276.5; 4. Kawasaki 218.5; 5. Honda 193; 6. Suzuki 72.5.
A red flag incident on the startline led to two starts for the 18-lap FIM Supersport Championship race at Brno, but even more drama was to come when the race was halted by another red flag a few laps from the end. Even though Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) had just been passed by Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini), the French rider won on the count back to the previous lap, with Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) third. Fourth was Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) with Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) fifth and Ronan Quarmby (PTR Honda) sixth, despite being the rider who crashed out.
Results: 1. Foret (Kawasaki) 13 Laps/70.239 km in 27’02.236 average 155.872 kph; 2. Sofuoglu (Kawasaki) 0.128; 3. Parkes (Honda) 0.434; 4. Lowes (Honda) 4.650; 5. Cluzel (Honda) 7.725; 6. Quarmby (Honda) 11.384; 7. Morais (Kawasaki) 11.934; 8. Cruciani (Kawasaki) 12.253; etc.
Points (after 8 of 13 rounds): 1. Sofuoglu 137; 2. Lowes 114; 3. Foret 108; 4. Cluzel 95; 5. Parkes 82; 6. Morais 62; 7. Baldolini 54; 8. Quarmby 54; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 176; 2. Honda 172; 3. Triumph 83; 4. Yamaha 66; 5. Suzuki 6.
Bryan Staring (Pedercini Kawasaki) won his second consecutive Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race after splashing through the rains in unstoppable fashion at Brno. He left Eddi La Marra (Barni Racing Team Italia Ducati) to break away from a group behind to try and hunt him down, but as the danger approached Staring upped the pace and finished 6.5 seconds up on La Marra. MRS Kawasaki rider Jeremy Guarnoni finished third, albeit 32 seconds behind Staring. Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) fell and no scored, which means that in the championship fight La Marra is now the leader.
Results: 1. Staring (Kawasaki) 12 Laps/64.836 km in 27’22.582 average 142.099 kph; 2. La Marra (Ducati) 6.577; 3. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 32.390; 4. Brown (Ducati) 34.106; 5. McFadden (Kawasaki) 38.007; 6. Massei (Honda) 38.412; 7. Bergman (Kawasaki) 39.584; 8. Jezek (Ducati) 39.940; etc.
Points (after 6 of 10 rounds): 1. La Marra 94; 2. Barrier 75; 3. Staring 70; 4. Savadori 67; 5. Guarnoni 62; 6. Baroni 56; 7. Reiterberger 55; 8. Bergman 49; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 110; 2. Ducati 107; 3. BMW 103; 4. Honda 46; 5. Aprilia 16.
KTM European Junior Cup
Lukas Wimmer took the victory in the fifth round of the KTM European Junior Cup at Brno, his second race win of the season so far. He was only 0.295 seconds ahead of Spaniard Gaston Garcia and just over a second up on third place rider, Javier Orellana. Wimmer now has 70 points and the championship lead, Orellana is second on 62 and Christian Vidal has 48 points, in third, sharing that total with Jean Francois Demoulin.
Results: 1. Wimmer (KTM) 7 Laps/37.821 km in 16’14.885 average 139.663 kph; 2. Garcia (KTM) 0.295; 3. Orellana (KTM) 1.223; 4. Demoulin (KTM) 1.616; 5. Odegard (KTM) 8.411; 6. Pasek (KTM) 9.852; 7. Vidal (KTM) 15.100; 8. Patterson (KTM) 18.969; etc.
Points (after 5 of 8 rounds): 1. Wimmer 70; 2. Orellana 62; 3. Vidal 48; 4. Demoulin 48; 5. Garcia 45; 6. Wielebski 36; 7. Pasek 35; 8. Odegard 29; etc.
Coppa dei Due Paesi (Two-Nations Cup)
Denis Sacchetti (SD Rider Team Kawasaki) took a clear win in the Coppa dei Due Paesi race at Brno, from Olmo Spigariol (Way of Life Kawasaki). Third, and first of the Russian riders, was Sergey Vlasov (Yakhnich Motorsports Yamaha) from team-mate Dakota Mamola. In the championship Sacchetti has 45 points, Vlasov 27 and Mamola 26.
Results: 1. Sacchetti (Kawasaki) 9 Laps in 19’28.235; 2. Spigariol (Kawasaki) 2.258; 3. Vlasov (Yamaha) 3.444; 4. Mamola (Yamaha) 12.263; 5. Prasek (Yamaha) 12.529; 6. Dusek (Yamaha) 19.049; 7. Sangiorgi (Honda) 19.625; 8. Prosenik (Yamaha) 23.010; etc.
Points (after 2 of 3 rounds): 1. Sacchetti 45; 2. Vlasov 27; 3. Mamola 26; 4. Biliotti 25; 5. Vostarek 22; 6. Spigariol 20; 7. Sangiorgi 16; 8. Buccheri 14; etc.
Camier started from 13th on the grid and made up two positions on the first lap before moving into the top-10 on lap 16 around the 5,403m Czech circuit. Camier then made his way past Michel Fabrizio on the next lap and held out to take a deserved ninth after all his hard work this weekend. He was also in the points in race one, as he steered his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki GSX-R to 14th place in the very difficult conditions that faced the riders in the first 20-lap event.
John Hopkins had a tough afternoon, but can take consolation from finishing both races in the points for the first time this season, as he continues his push back to full race fitness. Hopkins brought his FIXI Crescent Suzuki GSX-R home in 15th in race one and went one place better in the second event to record a safe and solid 14th. He will now continue to improve his fitness before the next round, which will see him racing in Britain for the first time since his epic BSB battle last season.
Today’s first race was held in very difficult conditions after a rain-storm soaked the Brno track, but by the time the race started it had dried considerably and most riders chose to use slick tyres in the damp – but drying – conditions. Marco Melandri on a BMW won race one and repeated the feat in the second event – which was held in warm and sunny conditions – to close the gap at the top of the championship to current leader Max Biaggi.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki will next be in action at the team’s – and Camier’s – home WSB event of the season, when the World Superbike series heads to Silverstone in England for round 10 on Sunday August 5th. Before that though, Camier will be representing the Yoshimura Suzuki squad at the prestigious Suzuka 8-hour in Japan next weekend.
Leon Camier: “Conditions were very tricky at the start of the first race and the track was pretty wet. Because we all knew it would dry out, we all chose slicks, but that made the opening laps a bit difficult. After my experience in Assen, I was a bit nervous in the wet and wasn’t confident enough to push too hard. I know that I need to improve my confidence in these kinds of conditions. I made a bad start in race two and then started making up places before too long. It was a case of just bashing my way through and once I managed to get past Rea and Smrz, I set about trying to catch Fabrizio. Once I got past him, I went after the group ahead, but ran out of laps before I could improve my position. In the second race my FIXI Crescent Suzuki felt good and so did I. It was very encouraging to be able to run with the fast guys and if I had made a better start I’m sure I would’ve been challenging for a top four or five position.”
John Hopkins: “The conditions in the first race were definitely not easy. I started from the inside of the track which was the wettest part and so had to be careful at the beginning. Even so, the bike still span up a few times. I got caught in a group towards the back of the field and managed to hit the wrong button on my traction control and turned it off by mistake. I then put in some decent laps, but by then it was too late.
“The track was much better for race two. I got a good start, pushed hard and kept my head down. I was battling with Smrz and Rea and trying everything I knew to get past them, but I began to struggle with edge grip. As the race wore on, my tyre was gone, so I settled for a finish and some points. The results today were not what I wanted or expected, but were better than some before.”
Jack Valentine – Team Manager: “Both riders went out on slicks in race one, which was the right choice of tyres because the track was drying out. Leon was a bit tentative at the beginning and that cost him places and that was more or less the same situation for John. I am very disappointed with the first race and think that the results would’ve been better if both riders had been able to manage their onboard electronic control system better. Leon ran a really good second race and would’ve finished higher up if he had made a better start. He picked riders off and that was good to see. John complained of edge grip and that prevented his progress. I am really pleased about all the work done by the FIXI Crescent Suzuki team since Aragon. The bike’s acceleration has improved and now Leon and John can slipstream other bikes – something they couldn’t do before. We’re going straight back to the workshops and we’ll be putting in the same amount of work to try and find further improvement.”
Another historic race Sunday for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport: at the iconic “Automotodrom Brno” (CZE), as the Bavarian team reached another two milestones. For the first time ever BMW is leading the Manufacturers’ Classification of the FIM Superbike World Championship, and for the first time BMW won both races of a World Championship weekend. Factory rider Marco Melandri (ITA) rode his BMW S 1000 RR to victory in both of today’s heats. Also for him it was the first time ever to climb on the top step of the podium twice on a Sunday. In this season so far, Marco now has five victories under his belt, more than any other rider in the championship. His team-mate Leon Haslam (GBR) finished both races in seventh.
Race one started with tricky conditions. After it had rained throughout the night and the morning, the clouds cleared one hour before the start. In the early stages of the race, the track was partly wet and partly dry, making tyre choice a difficult task. Both Marco and Leon opted for slicks. At the start, Marco improved from fifth to second and Leon from seventh to sixth, but after lap one they were eighth and ninth respectively. With slicks on their RRs it was difficult for them in the mixed conditions. Halfway through the race Leon was seventh and Marco eighth. While Leon kept struggling with grip and fought for seventh, Marco was able to start an impressive fight back. Lap by lap he made up positions and with three laps to go he was third, chasing the leading pair of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea (both GBR). On the penultimate lap Marco took the lead and opened up a small gap of a second to cross the line as the winner.
In race two conditions were dry and consistent. Leon catapulted himself from seventh to third at the start and took second place on lap two directly in front of Marco, with both riders battling in the tight field of frontrunners. Leon went on the grass and slipped back to sixth, while Marco took second. From then on, the Italian chased leader Sykes. He reduced the gap with every lap and briefly took the lead for the first time on lap 14, only to slip back behind Sykes again. For the rest of the race the pair had a nail biting battle with the lead changing several times. At the beginning of the final lap, Marco got himself in front again and defended the lead until the chequered flag. Leon was on course for fifth, but had a false neutral on the final lap so slipped back to seventh.
In the Riders’ Championship, second placed Marco has reduced his gap to leader Max Biaggi (ITA) to 21 points. Marco now has 250.5 points to his tally. Leon is sixth with 160 points. In the Manufacturers’ Standings BMW took the lead with 292 points, two points ahead of Aprilia. BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet SBK Team’s rider Michel Fabrizio (ITA) was eighth and tenth, his team-mate Ayrton Badovini (ITA) retired in both races.
Result Race 1: 1st / Fastest Lap Race 1: 2:00.778 min
Result Race 2: 1st / Fastest Lap Race 2: 1:59.748 min
“I am living my dream today. Securing my first double victory here in Brno on this race track is something special for me. I am so happy because I already have five victories this season and nobody expected that. Race one was already amazing. At the beginning the conditions were very difficult as it was wet. As we were riding with slicks we just tried not to lose too many positions, but in the first few laps I struggled a lot. While I was trying to improve my position I made two mistakes because I still was not feeling comfortable. When I saw I was eighth I said to myself I needed to be quiet and keep my rhythm to catch the front guys. It was not easy to overtake them, but when I took the lead with one lap to go I knew I just needed to keep pushing as much as I could. I knew I was faster than the others.
“Race two was even more difficult, as Tom was having a great race and I had to spend a lot of energy trying to catch him. The tyre was working very well today, and I was able to keep the gap very small. Every time I tried to pass Tom he was braking so hard that it was nearly impossible. Once I finally passed him, I made a mistake and Tom passed me back. It was really tough to catch him again. Actually I did not expect to win, but doing that here twice today is just amazing. Seeing BMW leading the manufacturers’ championship is unbelievable and it makes me proud. I was also able to close the gap to Max in the riders’ championship. But the season is still long, and we plan race by race. I want to thank everybody at BMW Motorrad and in the race team who work so hard every day and put so much effort in the project. It was so unbelievable and emotional to see them smiling and happy. Now I just want to celebrate this result.”
Result Race 1: 7th / Gap to 1st: 00:11.293 min / Fastest Lap Race 1: 2:01.399 min
Result Race 2: 7th / Gap to 1st: 00:12.547 min / Fastest Lap Race 2: 2:00.298 min
“At the beginning of race one the conditions were tricky, but it was the same for everyone. However, we had some major issues. I really struggled with grip and then from about five laps on I had chatter. I managed to change my style towards the end of the race to get seventh position back from Michel Fabrizio but it was quite difficult.
“In the second race, the bike was feeling good. When Marco and I were battling I went on the grass. and lost a lot of places. I was happy with the bike and we should have beaten Eugene Laverty, but on the last lap I got a false neutral and lost two places. The main thing is overall I felt a lot better in this race, and now we are looking forward to Silverstone, a track that is always good for me.”
Bernhard Gobmeier (BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director):
“It was a fantastic Sunday. Initially it seemed as it would be another weather and tyre lottery, but this time we relied on our intuition and chose the right tyres for both riders. Marco’s races were fantastic. In race one, he fought his way from eighth back to the front in a brave manner, and also in race two he impressively showed his and the bike’s potential. Congratulations also go to Leon. Compared to last year, he was able to improve enormously on this track where he has always struggled in the past. Unfortunately he had a small technical issue on the last lap of race two, otherwise he would have been fifth. Overall it was an amazing team effort. The squad did a perfect job. A big thank you to everybody for their hard work at the circuit and back home to make these next milestones possible.”
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) had a tough day of competition in the 2012 FIM Superbike World Championship races at Brno in the Czech Republic, after a collision with another rider while in a podium position in race one and then fighting hard against traction issues to take a top twelve finish in race two. Marco Melandri (BMW) won both races at Brno, to close the gap to championship leader Max Biaggi (Aprilia) significantly.
Rea had been sixth in Superpole qualifying, a good result considering his recent lack of track data at Brno, and he looked set for a possible podium place until he fell while trying to pass race leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) at the apex of a corner when Sykes had started to drift wide, three laps from the end. The riders collided, Rea fell and Sykes carried on to score second. Rea was 12th in race two after he experienced a severe lack of edge grip and his combined Brno results dropped him to fifth overall in the championship standings.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team) was taken out in race one when Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki) fell under braking and both bike and rider pushed Aoyama wide, eventually causing him to fall. In race two a technical issue prevented Hiroshi from finishing the race. He is now 17th in the standings.
In the championship contest Biaggi has 271.5 points, Melandri 250.5 and Sykes 212.5. Carlos Checa (Ducati) has 204.5 and Rea 187.
Next round is at the evocative circuit of Silverstone on Sunday 5 August.
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda) put in a podium performance at the eighth round of the FIM Supersport World Championship, taking third place in the Czech Republic to boost his confidence for the final few races of the season and his overall points total.
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) was one place behind Parkes in fourth in a dramatic race at Brno, but Lowes is still the closest challenger to championship leader and second place rider today, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki).
The race was started then red flagged because of a start line incident and in the restart eventual race winner Fabien Foret (Kawasaki) put in a front running performance until the 14th lap, when Sofuoglu passed him, with Parkes right behind. At that point sixth place rider Ronan Quarmby suffered a big highside, and with his machine stranded on the track and almost on the racing line, the race was red flagged. With results going back to the 13th lap, Foret was declared the winner, Sofuoglu second and Parkes third. It was Broc’s second podium finish of the season.
Lowes worked hard to get to a top four place at what is not one of his favourite circuits and he is now 23 points behind Sofuoglu in the current rankings, 137 to 114. Foret is third on 108 and Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda), who was fifth today at Brno, sits fourth on 95. Parkes is fifth on 82.
Quarmby was credited with sixth in the classification today because of the count back of one lap rule in a red flagged race and that score puts him eighth in the points.
Gabor Talmacsi (PRORACE Honda) treated the Brno race as a home round and was 19 seconds from the winning time, in 12th place. The only remaining Honda points scorer was Valentin Debise (SMS Racing Honda) in 14th place today.
Raffaele de Rosa (Lorini Honda) was 16th, Balazs Nemeth (Racing Team Toth Honda) went 17th, and Imre Toth (Racing Team Toth Honda) 19th. Despite starting behind the pace car for the second start of the WSS race, Martin Jessopp (Riders PTR Honda) finished two places from last, in what was a lonely race for the most part.
Roberto Tamburini (Lorini Honda) and Pawel Szkopek (Bogdanka Honda PTR) crashed out of the race, while Massimo Roccoli (Kuja Racing Honda) and Mathew Scholtz (Bogdanka PTR Honda) each had to retire, Scholtz with a clutch issue.
Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: DNF / 12th Championship position: 5th – “It’s been a really frustrating weekend because this is one of my favourite circuits and the feeling was not like in previous years – it felt completely different. We worked hard all weekend and got quite close in race one. The conditions were unpredictable at the start, but I found a rhythm and some pace and was battling for the lead. Tom Sykes ran wide and I was on the inside when he cut back and I got ejected, which was unfortunate because we were in a good podium position. In race two I felt something wrong with the bike from the very start. I just had no grip from the rear, but we’ll have to look at the data to confirm that it was just the tyre. I suffered a massive loss of grip on the edge, under acceleration, and tried a lot of different styles to see if anything worked, but it was all I could do to hang on to 12th place. The results are not what I want to go racing for and I’m really disappointed about the weekend. The last few races I’ve felt like I’m on a race winning package, but this weekend was definitely below average.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda World Superbike Team): Race result: DNF / DNF Championship position: 17th – “Not such a nice Sunday. In the first race, another rider crashed into me so I crashed, too, and that was not so good. In the second race the conditions were better so we wanted to try some things on the bike to get a better position, but after the fourth lap the bike stopped in turn one, so finally we could not do anything. It was not really a happy end to the weekend, but we had more of a positive feeling yesterday so I hope that this is a good direction for us to follow. Now I go to race at the Suzuka 8-hour, but when I come back at Silverstone I hope we can be stronger again.”
Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Products Honda): Race result: 3rd Championship position: 5th – “I am really happy and first of all I would like to thank the guys in the team for working over the past couple of weeks to give me a bike to allow me to be at the front and in the battle for the win. That is where I want to be. We were a little bit unfortunate for the red flag, because I felt that I was saving my attack for the end. The tyres were still really good, but I am happy for the confidence to be with there again and it is important for me to be on the podium and fighting for wins again and we can look now to the end of the year and see what we can do.”
Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda): Race result: 4th Championship position: 2nd- “I knew that this track was not good for me. It was my worst track last year, but to be fair I had quite good pace on Friday and good pace yesterday, even if we lost a lot of momentum with a few technical problems. Because of the less than perfect qualifying I had to pass some people and got in a battle with Cluzel, which frustrated me because he was my team-mate. By the time I got past him I was three and a half seconds behind, but in the next ten laps I only lost 0.5 seconds more. I had the pace to stick in there if not to beat them, but if you are there, who knows? Kenan actually got dropped to second after the red flag so it could have been a lot worse. Fourth is my joint worst finish of the year so it is not that bad really.”
— Liberty Racing
The wet track was once again friendly to the Liberty Racing Team since the warm up session which took place under the rain, Jakub Smrž beat all opponents, showing his determination. The rain stopped just before the start of race 1. The damp conditions of the tarmac led the Liberty Racing Team to put on the Berger and Smrž Ducati an intermedium tyre on the front and a slick one on the rear. The young Effenbert French after a good start from 19th position recovered quickly as many as 15th positions since to take the leadership by the poleman Sykes, leading race 1 for 4 laps, fighting strongly with the Sbk top riders. Smrž, made a good start too, struggled in close competition with Jonathan Rea and Marco Melandri. In the second part of the race, with the tarmac that gradually warmed up, the performance of their tyres went down. Berger and Smrž led in couple the final laps, finishing respectively ninth and tenth. For the first time during all the racing weekend the sun made its appearance at the start of race two. Liberty Racing riders, Berger and Smrz, were unfortunately victims of a not brilliant start, that relegated them to the center of the group where for several laps had to deal with dangerous opponents. Under the checkered flag Kuba Smrž and Maxime Berger passed respectively thirteenth and fifteenth, with the first one involved in a duel with Johnny Rea and the second one that beat, after a tough duel, the Italian Lorenzo Zanetti. Melandri and Sykes were the masters of the day, respectively first and second in both race, with the Italian, who, thanks to the double success now is very close to the leader Max Biaggi.
— Althea Ducati
A day of highs and lows for the Althea Racing team and its riders Carlos Checa and Davide Giugliano today at the Czech track of Brno. At a track that is traditionally not so kind to the Ducati, Checa obtained an impressive third and fourth place finish in the day’s two SBK races while for Giugliano is was a more difficult day; he crashed in race one before closing race two in eleventh position.
Race 1 – Mixed conditions for race 1 caused confusion on the grid as riders did not know whether wet, intermediate or slick tyres would be best suited to the tricky conditions. In the end Carlos opted for slicks while Davide went with a wet and at the end of the opening lap both were up front, Davide in second place, followed by Carlos, third. While Giugliano fought with Sykes for first position, Checa battled it out with the chasing pack, with riders including Baz and Smrz. Unfortunately on the third lap Davide’s tyre choice proved to be a wrong one and he crashed out, putting paid to what would have surely been a great race for him. At a certain point Carlos lost a couple of positions but quickly caught back up, passing Melandri and then Berger and Baz to move into third place. In the final stages of the race Althea man Carlos was battling with Melandri for the final podium spot and if it had not been for Rea’s unfortunate crash right in front of him, the Spaniard would have surely achieved his goal. He had to settle for final fourth position, recording the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap and collecting the Pirelli Best Lap Award as a result.
Race 2 – Once again both Althea men got away well and were in fourth (Carlos) and fifth (Davide) place at the end of lap one. By lap three Checa had passed Laverty, moving into third place. From there he started to push to catch leaders Sykes and Melandri but unfortunately the two leaders had a slightly better pace and the Spaniard had trouble sticking with them. He was nevertheless able to hold his position until the finish line, earning himself a third place finish and valuable championship points.
After only a few laps Davide started to suffer due to a lack of grip at the front, and the problem only worsened as the race progressed. As a result, he was unable to keep with the leading pack and lost several positions. He lost more ground in the final phases but was able to cross the line, in eventual eleventh place, and score a handful of useful points in the process.
After this ninth round, Checa lies in fourth position in the championship standings with 204.5 points while Davide is ninth with 99 points. Ducati slips to third place in the manufacturer’s championship with 276.5 points, behind BMW and Aprilia.
Carlos Checa: “We knew it would be hard at this track so I think we can be happy with third and fourth place finishes today. Despite the difficulties on the grid and at the start of race 1, I was able to stick with those ahead of me and maintain a good pace. I admit I had my doubts on the grid because there is no way of knowing whether conditions will change during the race but we made the right tyre choice. Having said that it was hard – I had trouble catching and then passing those in front. So, all things considered, and bearing in mind that Rea crashed in front of me on the last lap, final fourth position wasn’t so bad. Then, in race 2, I started to lose grip in the final stages. There was no way I could keep up with Tom and Marco but I’m pleased that I was able to stay close and take third place. The team has worked really well together and it’s also thanks to the harmony in the garage that I was able to take these results today.”
Davide Giugliano: “What a pity about race 1. It was my mistake because on the grid we were deciding which tyre to use and I didn’t want to go out on slicks. It was the wrong decision and after a couple of laps it was impossible to ride and I crashed. It’s a shame because I felt really fast and though I don’t know whether I could have fought for the win, I could surely have been a podium contender. In the second race I had grip issues right from lap two onwards. It became increasingly difficult to manage the situation and I lost a lot of ground. I thank my team for all their hard work this weekend because, even if we didn’t take the results that we wanted, we know that was have the pace and are competitive. Let’s see what we can do now in the upcoming races.”
— Rivamoto / Metcher
Another race down on the World Superbike calendar and Metcher remains in 13th position in the Supersport championship on 31 points. Blokhin and Pozdneev are confidently improving in their riding abilities and continue to move forward with the help of the Rivamoto team.
After 2 challenging qualifying sessions the team were hoping they had solved the issues with Metcher’s bike. Preparation for a wet warm up session was underway as rain fell heavily on the track for most of the morning. Metcher was looking good as he concluded the 15 minute session in 13th position. The rain eventually stopped and unfortunately for Jed the 1.30pm race was to be a dry one. Metcher got off to a good start working his way through the field. Unfortunately a technical issue on lap 12 at turn 6 of the circuit ended his race. Two laps later the race was red flagged due to Ronan Quamby high siding and landing in the middle of the track, ending the race 4 laps early.
Blokhin was in top form this weekend and thrilled to have gained some valuable experience from the race. The team managed to increase his corner entry speed with set-up and engine baking strategy improvements. This was extremely helpful during his tough battle with Austrian rider Yves Polzer. On many occasions throughout the race Blokhin was much more confident on entry to the corners and this helped him to eventually outride Polzer. Russian teammate Pozdneev had an impressive first few laps but unfortunately started to drop off the pace when an electronic component malfunctioned.
Quote Jeremy McWilliams: “We had high hopes but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be such a good weekend for Jed. We don’t expect engine failures and electronic glitches but sometimes it happens. Just when things were starting to look up we had the disappointed of a non-finish but we are all pleased for Edik.”
KRT riders Tom Sykes and Loris Baz each scored podium finishes at Brno and in doing so moved up the championship table on a bumper day of success for most official Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R runners.
Sykes, starting from pole for the seventh time in nine rounds, was a front-runner in each 20-lap Superbike race, pushing on hard and -particularly in race two – being able to fight back when under pressure in the final few laps, proving that there is still untapped potential being found in the race set-up of the Ninja ZX-10R.
In race one the first laps were conducted on a damp track surface but as the sun appeared the track dried rapidly and Sykes was able to get to the lead and then keep second place when eventual double race winner Marco Melandri passed him. A collision between Sykes and Jonathan Rea with three laps to go saw Rea fall but Tom hold on to score second.
Right behind Sykes his team-mate Loris Baz was having a brilliant ride to third place in not only his rookie season in this class, but also only his fifth competitive ride on the official Kawasaki Racing Team machine. He was only 1.948 seconds from the race win and his 2012 season podium total stands at
In race two Tom was only 0.140 seconds from Melandri at the flag, fighting all the way to try and re-pass the experienced rider. His two second place finishes at Brno take him to third again in the championship, with his home round up next at Silverstone.
For Loris race two was still a very positive event, finishing eighth for the third time this year but again close to the leaders on total race time. He is now 16th overall.
Kawasaki Team Pedercini Superbike riders David Salom and Leandro Mercado were both unlucky, with Salom only 18th in race one and then a non-finisher in race two. Mercado fell after colliding with another rider under braking and he missed race two as his bike was comprehensively damaged in the high-speed fall.
In the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup class Bryan Staring (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) won in soaking wet conditions, his second win in succession on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R machine. In third place, Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) was another rider having a bumper day for Kawasaki, adding to his podium score from the recent Aragon round. In the standings Staring is third, 24 points from the lead, with Guarnoni fifth, 32 points behind.
Tom Sykes: “We started very strong in race two and the lap time was good, then the tyre dropped a little bit in performance but the very small adjustment we made after race one meant that the tyre felt very consistent. I made my own race out in front alone and I think I am quite good at managing it and it seemed to work. We started to go a little bit faster towards the end but I felt a little bit of attack from Melandri. Finally the lap time got affected but it was great to battle with a rider like this. We know he is strong on the brakes but with help from Kawasaki and my crew chief Marcel I had a bit of an answer today. I was not quite as easily dealt with as in previous races. Hopefully we can carry this forward. Having the Ninja ZX-10 working so well at the end of the race is such a good breath of fresh air. It has proved a few people wrong. In race one I felt the hit when Jonathan Rea and I collided. Jonathan went for a gap that unfortunately was not there. I tried to stay with Marco in race one and when I attacked the corner the front was not allowing me to attack so I ran a bit wide to square the corner off and when I did I just saw a bit of Jonathan in my side view, at which point it was too late.”
Loris Baz: “I can’t believe I am here on the podium in race one. I could not dream of being on the podium when I started in Superbike just a few races ago. I started well and just tried to stay there with the other riders. We have been working very well in Kawasaki, all the mechanics and so on, and we never go in the wrong way. Because I am tall we had to make some changes to the geometry of the bike since I started riding it, but it really feels like I have been riding this bike for a year or more. I still think I am dreaming right now to be on the podium. In race two I got a good start again but it took a bit of time to overtake two riders in front of me. I had a really good feeling with the bike again. I could not make a step to pass some other riders but I am really happy. It is out best race in the full dry conditions and we were only 13 seconds from the front so it was really close.”
Bryan Staring: Superstock 1000. “We have now won one race in the dry and one race in the wet on the Ninja ZX-10R so it makes me happy, the team happy and I’m sure Kawasaki too. It maybe looked like an easy race but it is difficult when you have to control the gap all the time. I saw the gap come down to La Marra behind me but I got the time back again. It all came together again on Sunday again. Considering two rounds ago I was in 11th overall and now I am third. Obviously that’s really good, but I do not want to think about it too much, I will just take it one race at a time. We had a lot of bad luck at the start of the season but it has been coming together better for us in the past few races. A huge thanks to my team and a big, big thanks to Kawasaki.”
Jeremy Guarnoni: Superstock 1000: “It was a very wet race and I was not happy because we did all the weekend in dry conditions and I was fast in those. In the race I made a good start and after a while I went third. I am really happy because it is another podium and I am closer to the lead in the championship.”
Fabien Foret (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) went 1-2 in a shortened 13-lap race at Brno, with both riders in the podium hunt from the very beginning of the race.
Fabien made a dash to the lead at his team’s home circuit before the chasing Sofuoglu and Broc Parkes closed him down on lap 13 and Sofuoglu passed on lap 14. At that point another rider crashed and with his machine stranded on the racing line the red flag was displayed and the result called after 13 laps, and with full points allocated.
That left Foret the winner, for the second time this year, and promoted him to third in the championship.
Sofuoglu was obviously disappointed not to win but his second place, and a fourth place finish by his main championship rival Sam Lowes, extended his championship lead to 23 points.
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) was finally seventh in the race, having started ninth on the grid, and is sixth overall in the points now.
Romain Lanusse (Kawasaki Intermoto Step) was 11th, and is 17th in the standings.
Stefano Cruciani (Puccetti Racing Team Italia Kawasaki) finished tenth and Florian Marino of the new MSD R-N Racing Team India squad took his Ninja ZX-6R to 13th, a vast improvement on his starting place of 23rd.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “I think there is a wall for me to first position recently! But it is not so bad because I knew I could catch Fabien and I just waited to catch up with him. Finally I did and passed and I still had energy to improve and push for the last four laps and improve. Then I saw the red flag and at that moment I thought I was more than one lap in the lead and I was in first, but when I got back they told me I was second. So many right now I have a little bit of bad luck, but still we are leading the championship and pulling a gap. That is the most important thing. Sometimes you can do everything but winning is not for you. But it is not so bad.”
Fabien Foret: “We made a plan this morning with Andrew my crew chief and I tried to respect it by pushing really hard at the beginning of the race to make a gap. I was struggling to keep the gap and when you are at the front you are a reference for the riders following behind. When I saw the riders coming by I just kept it calm and tried to save a bit of energy for the last three laps. Kenan passed me and I could see that I was a bit faster than him in some places, and he was definitely a bit faster than me in other places. I tried to adjust myself a little bit on the bike and then the red flag arrived. I was a bit upset because I though I had been passed for the lead at this stage but it turned out it was my weekend. It was good to win, very good.”
Sheridan Morais: “I got quite a good start, even if starting ninth is not so easy and I did not lose any positions. One of the other rider’s engines blew in front of me and I got dropped back but then I had a pretty good race pace and manage to get back up a bit. I saw Cluzel in front of me and I think I was managing to close that gap until it was red- flagged. I am happy with the bike and the way we went forward but I am not happy with the race in general because I feel we could have been fighting at the front again. But thanks to the guys in the team for all the hard work.”