Jonathan Rea takes record breaking 60th WorldSBK win
Anthony West 8th on grid for Sunday’s SSP race
Edwards 21st – Toparis 25th in SSP300 qualifying
It’s been six years since Jonathan Rea has visited Brno, with the rider coming into the round seeking his 60th race win, an accomplishment denied to him at Donington Park, but which was not so elusive at Brno’s Race 1. His sixth race win of the season now ensures his record eclipses any other WorldSBK racers’, including previous record holder Carl Fogarty.
Around the longest track in the season, it was fitting for the action to be more extended than usual. Rea overtook teammate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at the start, but crashes from Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) forced a red flag and race restart – twice, due to technical issues on the grid.
At the third time of asking, with the race length now down to 16 laps, Sykes defended his position at turn 1, but Rea was in front a couple of corners later, keeping Sykes behind and jetting off. The Northern Irishman was also helped by the action behind, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) putting Sykes under pressure. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) also joined the fight, swapping positions several times with his teammate in a thrilling battle.
Rea went untroubled from this point forward, leading a composed ride to the finish line. He was the only rider managing laps times under two minutes, keeping a 4-5 second gap from his closest pursuers. The defending champion has now opened an 81 point gap over Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who took a top eight today, as his championship pursuit becomes even tougher.
Behind the leader, Melandri finally got the best of Sykes in lap 4, taking his best result since Phillip Island in February with second. It’s the fifth podium for Melandri at Brno in WorldSBK, and a fantastic comeback after a difficult Donington weekend. Sykes crossed the line in third, two seconds off the Italian.
The rostrum was finally just not close enough for the Yamaha riders, with van der Mark beating Lowes to fourth place. Both men will sit at the front of the grid in Race 2, a fantastic opportunity to move their personal tussle to podium fighting positions tomorrow.
A thrilling battle for sixth midway through the race saw Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) emerge triumphant and back into the top positions. He got the best of teammate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), who still managed to beat Davies in the final laps for seventh.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) netted himself another top 10 finish. Still not 100%, the Brit has managed to come in ninth at the flag, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in tenth, the first independent rider at Brno. Yonny Hernández (Team Pedercini Racing) confirmed his good form at the Czech circuit, returning to the WorldSBK paddock in eleventh after missing the UK Round.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“When I crossed the line today I started to realise I had done the 60 wins. I hadn’t been thinking about it during the race. That is super-nice and I can’t really believe it, to be honest. We have come so far and I am really proud of all the race wins we have done, and they are all special in their own individual way. Just huge thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way – and especially right now to the Kawasaki Racing Team for giving me this opportunity. The bike is great and I am enjoying riding it. It is nice to win the 60th race here, where I won my first WorldSSP race. I have called my dog Brno as well! It is a very special place and name for me. It’s a real rider’s circuit and one of my proudest race wins here was against Max Biaggi. It is the perfect track for Biaggi, a real flowing track where you throw it in on corner speed. Subtle differences at this track make a big difference. Releasing the brake, how you release the gas, trying to be more fluid. Carl Fogarty is a legend and he is still the GOAT up until we win this fourth title, hopefully. That is the big target for me, trying to win four championships. Carl has got that and he is the best. But to be the winningest rider now is something I am really proud of.”
Marco Melandri – P2
“After a difficult round, we managed to be competitive once again. It’s always nice to be on the podium, but track conditions today were really tricky. We lacked grip and the bike understeered. At the first start we were right behind Rea, who made a couple of mistakes, but at the restart I knew it would have been harder because the temperatures rose further. Still, we can be happy because we managed a difficult situation quite well. We solved most of our issues, even though we still need to improve. Tomorrow, it’ll be crucial to start well from third row and be fast early on, then anything can happen.”
Tom Sykes – P3
“Today is Jonathan’s day, it’s a fantastic achievement and I want to say a big congrats to him, to get 60 is some achievement! But unfortunately we didn’t have the pace to match him, and tomorrow is another day. We really struggled with understeer today, but we didn’t lost too much once the pace settled, but initially I couldn’t dig the front in. Third is the best I could do today, it’s great to have all the support in the Czech Republic, great to have the podium here and hopefully tomorroe we can have a lot to cheer about.”
Michael van der Mark – P4
“We had a good Superpole, I was happy with my lap and qualifying tyre, sixth was not a bad place to start. In the first race start I was making my way to the front then we had a red flag, it was lucky as we had some problems with the rear. For the second start I changed some things on the bike and felt quite strong – I was making my way to the front, but after a few laps I started to struggle with the front, and it was only getting worse and worse. I managed to close the gap to Alex and pass him and I finished fourth but for sure we have to fix the problems on the front to be able to fight for the podium tomorrow.”
Alex Lowes – P5
“Ultimately I’m disappointed with fifth as I felt I had a better pace than that this weekend. In the race the temperature rose on the track and I think it took everyone by surprise and the lap times were quite slow. I just did the best I could; and we have a lot of information for tomorrow. I’m disappointed for now but looking to improve for tomorrow!”
Eugene Laverty – P6
“Today was a pleasant surprise for us after a difficult time in Free Practice yesterday. This morning practice was really strong though and the qualifying went really well. In Superpole I was getting stronger and stronger, and P5 was a good result. The red flag period in the race helped us because I struggled in the first part with the settings on a full fuel load. They weren’t quite right initially, but when I pitted the guys made some good changes to the front of the bike and I was then able to push a lot more. Tomorrow we hope for an even better result, we know what we need on a full fuel tank now, and starting P3 gives us a good shot at scoring some big points in Race 2.”
Lorenzo Savadori – P7
“Today was not so bad, I had a little problem at the start with the clutch, and on the third restart it was really difficult to get away. I lost some places there and I had to push to make a gap, but the bike had quite a good rhythm. I struggled with the front for some of the race and I chose a different tyre to most of the other riders, so that is an area we can work on for tomorrow. I fought with Davies for a few laps which I enjoyed and I was able to pass him near the end for P7, which gives us more good points. I want to find more feeling in front for Race 2 and push a lot more. The bike is better on full fuel now and the bigger tyre works well for me, so I hope from P4 on the grid we can have another strong race.”
Chaz Davies – P8
“It was a tough race. Initially I felt quite OK but, as the temperatures increased, the grip went away really quickly after just a couple of laps, and then after mid-race the rear grip was very low so I had to take more risks and I struggled also with the front. I did everything I could to make it to the finish line in a decent position. We need to look into these issues further to understand what caused them and how to improve because, once we get the old feeling back, I know what we’re capable of.”
#CzechWorldSBK at Automotodrom Brno: Race 1
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +5.381
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +7.336
World Championship Standings after Race 1, Round 7
Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (270 points)
Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (189 points)
Tom Sykes (GBR) Kawasaki (179 points)
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) took his third Tissot Superpole of the season with a stunning final lap, running six tenths of a second faster than the riders preceding him and putting him in a perfect position to extend his championship lead.
In a season marked by the tiny margins separating all the top riders, Cortese was overcome early on by Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team), with the Swiss rider taking the lead in his first lap and keeping it until Cortese’s amazing run, with 50 seconds to go before the checkered flag. The Swiss rider couldn’t improve his lap time at the end, however he returns to the front row ins second, and could put up a thrilling battle tomorrow.
The front row will be completed by Jules Cluzel (NRT), second in the standings, setting up the top-end fight for tomorrow. They will come under intense pressure from Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) however, with the Italian adamant to claim a fourth successive podium. He will start in fourth despite a late crash, leading row two ahead of the two GRT riders. Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) had the better of his teammate Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) this time, taking fifth on the grid, with the Italian in sixth.
Row three will see Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) putting his F3 675 on the grid in seventh, in front of Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) in eighth, and Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in ninth. The top ten on Saturday was completed by Thomas Gradinger (NRT) in tenth place, with Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) and Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), through from the Superpole 2, in eleventh and twelfth respectively.
Can Cluzel or Cortese snatch their third win of the season? Or will a third rider overcome their dominance?
Sandro Cortese – Pole
“I feel really good, I had a crash yesterday and we didn’t know where we were with our pace and this morning I felt good again. I was quite surprised when I saw the lap time. I made some mistakes in my first exit, but I was still fast so I kept calm and tried to have a clean line. When I saw the lap time I thought ‘ok this should be OK for the pole’!”
#CzechWorldSBK WorldSSP – Automotodrom Brno
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing)
Randy Krummenacher (BARDHAL Evans Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.604
Jules Cluzel (NRT) +0.653
After dominating both Friday practice sessions, Galang Hendra Pratama (BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING) continued his brilliant form into Saturday with his first pole position in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship. He will lead the line ahead of Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) and Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team).
This is not just Hendra Pratama’s first Tissot Superpole, but also the first pole for a non-European rider in WorldSSP300. It also confirms the improvement in performance by the YZF-R3, with two Yamaha bikes in the top 5.
Deroue was on course to beat the Indonesian in sector 1 on his final lap, but traffic on track left the Dutchman in second, three tenths of a second behind. He will start in front of championship leader Carrasco, however, who made the front row despite a technical issue in the closing minutes of Superpole 2. Her Ninja 400 stopped after completing just 3 laps, but her time of 2’17.991 was enough to put her into third.
Leading row two will is Walid Khan (Nutec-Benjan-Kawasaki), who recorded the fourth fastest time, ahead of Manuel González (Pertamina Almeria BCD Junior Team by MS) in fifth, and Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team) in sixth, in search of his second podium of the year.
Third row, meanwhile, will see Nick Kalinin (GP Project Team) in seventh, returning brilliantly to WorldSSP300 action after his Imola crash. Eighth on Saturday was Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team), with Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) and Jan-Ole Jahnig closing the top ten in ninth and tenth.
Aussies Tom Edwards and Tom Toparis qualified 21st and 25th respectively.
Galang Hendra Pratama – Pole
“I didn’t expect to get the pole position here, so I am very happy with the result. For tomorrow I want to focus more, and I will push in the top group.”
#CzechWorldSBK WorldSSP300 – Automotodrom Brno
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