Anthony West 7th in SSP – Tom Toparis 19th in SSP300
Alex Lowes has taken his first ever World Superbike race win at Brno, where Race 2 saw Jonathan Rea crash out early, and Lowes and team mate Michael van der Mark would go on to take a Yamaha 1-2, with Chaz Davies taking the final podium position.
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) took his first ever MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race win at the Acerbis Czech Round, in an astonishing Race two which saw championship leader Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) crash out early on.
The thousands of Czech fans present at the Automotodrom Brno witnessed a wild, unpredictable affair, ending in a Yamaha one two and a sixth race winner in 2018.
The front row all kept their positions at the start, with van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) holding off his teammate through the first corners. Lowes would make his move into the race lead the following lap however, gaining the inside line through the first corner. Meanwhile, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) climbed all the way from eighth on the grid to third by lap two, and past van der Mark a few corners later.
The next couple of laps saw three dramatic, almost unbelievable twists. First, championship leader Jonathan Rea went down at turn 12, apparently after coming in contact with teammate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
The Northern Irish rider couldn’t make it back on track, retiring for the first time this season. If yesterday his lead seemed almost unsurmountable, after Sunday there was more than a glimmer of hope.
Next, Marco Melandri, having just passed Lowes for the race lead, lost control of his Ducati and rode through the gravel, immediately dropping the Italian to the back of the field and denying Melandri a return to the top of the rostrum when he was the fastest man on track.
And then Sykes slipped in lap 6, leaving all of yesterday’s podium men off the rostrum in Race two. In four seasons together, never had both British KRT riders left a race empty-handed. Melandri was able to salvage a point, putting him in 15th.
With a dozen laps left, the stage was thus set for a Yamaha battle to the end, as Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), in third, was unable to match the pair’s pace.
But this time, unlike when he led at Donington, Lowes’ YZF-R1 did not drop off in the final third: a smart, consistent and overall flawless ride by the Brit kept him ahead of his Dutch teammate all the way to the checkered flag with two seconds to spare. The man from Lincolnshire made his debut at Brno in 2011 – seven years on, he can finally call himself a WorldSBK winner.
With van der Mark claiming another podium finish in second, the Dutchman moves into third in the championship standings, above Sykes; while for Davies, who took an excellent third at Brno considering the issues that have plagued his weekend on the Panigale, cut Rea’s lead to 65 points.
Behind the rostrum riders, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) took fourth, his best result of the season, with his teammate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) also a season-best in fifth. Brno welcomed more good results for the Italian manufacturer, adding their bikes to the long list of podium contenders this season.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) had a career-best of sixth at Brno, rising from eleventh on the grid in just his tenth WorldSBK race. He finishes above Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team), in seventh. Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) returned to the top-ten in eighth, with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in ninth, and Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) tenth.
WorldSBK is back in two weeks from Laguna Seca, a special circuit with some of the best sections of the championship. Join us there on Saturday 23rd of June.
Alex Lowes – P1
“The first thing I need to say is a massive thanks to Yamaha, to the team and especially Paul who believed in me and brought me here from BSB. All the guys worked so hard to give me what I wanted on the bike. For me to win and Michael to come second for a Yamaha 1-2 is fantastic. On a personal level I’m so happy, Donington was hard to take, not to take anything away from Michael but it was tough for me to accept as I wanted to be the one to get the first win for the team as I felt like I’ve put so much into the project. The bike worked really well for me today, I really enjoyed the race, which is not easy when it’s so hot and slippery! I focused on being as smooth and consistent as I could be and now I’m over the moon. A massive thank you to Yamaha, I feel honoured to be part of this project and now we need to keep trying to win more races!”
Michael van der Mark – P2
“This morning in warm up we tried to change something on the bike to get a better feeling with the front and in the end it didn’t feel as good so we went back to yesterday’s setting. We only changed the front tyre and at the beginning of the race I struggled to get a good feeling with it. Alex passed me, Marco passed me; then he made a mistake. I was following Alex, he had such a good pace and we managed to pull away from third place so I was happy about that. I tried to close in on him and fight to win, I made it but in the last few laps he was stronger. I’m really happy with this podium and really happy for Alex for his first win. I think it’s a great end for the whole Pata Yamaha Superbike Team.”
Chaz Davies – P3
“We finally made a step forward after a difficult couple of days, where we struggled with the setup and low grip levels. Despite still not having the best feeling, it was enough to put me in a position to hold my own and not drop off in the end of the race. We want to do better, but I’m really happy to be back on the podium. It’s important for the morale of the team, and we’ll keep plugging away without giving up. This is my ‘thank you’ to my crew, who worked so hard. We recovered some points on our rivals but the priority is to get the feeling back 100 percent and hopefully we’ll take it to the next level soon.”
Michael Ruben Rinaldi – P6
“This is a great way to finish what’s been a tough weekend, with my best result of the year so far. Yesterday we were fast but I crashed, and today in WUP we’ve made another step forward. The race was fun, but in the final laps I was struggling with the tires because it was hotter than yesterday, and after the crash I thought P6 was OK. Now we will skip Laguna Seca, but I’ll cheer for Ducati and I can’t wait to go to Misano for my home race.”
Marco Melandri – P15
“Looking at our pace today, it would have been enough to get the win, so to finish in 15th position is disappointing. We had a lot of bad luck, because I was feeling good and once I was in the lead I was trying to push harder to pull away, but the rear-brake foot lever broke and I was forced to go wide at turn 3. Still, I wanted to finish the race to collect important information ahead of Laguna Seca. Looking at the bright side, we regained our confidence after improving the bike’s stability so I’m looking forward to the next round, where we can surely fight for good results.”
Tom Sykes – P16
“It was disappointing to not score in race two but in general this weekend I am not overly disappointed because I thought we would have the pace. Today, I think we made some improvements after race one and we got a good start. I certainly felt we could have started to push on and close in on Eugene and Chaz. We had the pace to run at the front. I am not saying what the outcome would have been but we had the bike and the package to run at the front in these conditions. I fell when I was trying to line a pass up. I had good corner speed and was about to pick the bike up, to get a good run into T11 and go inside. As I picked up the throttle I lost the front. To lose the front when you touch the throttle is not the usual way you crash, and it just caught me out.”
Jonathan Rea – RET
“It has been a great weekend for so many reasons but unfortunately today we did not get to finish it off in the way we wanted. We have to understand that we extended our lead in the championship and that is the positive I can hang onto today. I felt very comfortable in the early laps. I had asked the mechanics to write ‘smooth’ on the dashboard. It was an 18-lap race and my pace all weekend has been a step ahead of everyone, so I was in no urgency to get to the front and start making ground in the race. At the start everyone was in a rhythm, in the low to mid two minutes lap times, and that pace I could manage, no problem. But what happened put paid to my race. A very short race for me, so not much to say.”
#CzechWorldSBK at Automotodrom Brno: Race 2
Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team)
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +2.167
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +7.649
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 7
Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (270 points)
Chaz Davies (GBR) Ducati (205 points)
Michael van der Mark (NED) Yamaha (196 points)
Jules Cluzel (NRT) and Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) continued their sensational tussle as an intense rivalry is developing between the pair, putting on a strong show here in Brno.
After a first promising tussle at Donington Park, the pair put an even more thrilling battle at the Automotodrom Brno to heat up the FIM Supersport World Championship even further, with the Frenchman managing to beat his championship rival this time around, and reducing the gap to the top of the championship to only two points.
Cluzel struck first at the lights, taking advantage of a slow start from Cortese to move into first by the first corner. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) also made his way into second, a position he would lose back to Cortese however by the end of lap one, with Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) also moving into third above the Swiss rider a few turns later. Meanwhile, Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) suffered his second retirement of the season, going down at Turn eight.
The two frontrunners had battled on the timesheets throughout the weekend, and that rivalry translated to the track, with a thrilling sequence at the tail end of lap four leaving an early highlight: Cortese cut ahead of Cluzel at Turn 11, but the Frenchman shot back two bends later, both riders nearly coming together in a flashback of Cortese’s winning move at Donington Park. In the midst of that action, the shadow of De Rosa’s MV Agusta crept up behind.
By lap 10, Cluzel was facing mind blowing pressure in the lead, with Cortese not even a tenth of a second behind. But two, three, four laps went by, and the championship leader, with better pace, couldn’t find his moment to attack – or chose not to.
His moment came in the final lap: turn three saw the German move in front, but a wide line allowed Cluzel to push in around the outside of turn four. Again the pair clashed, with Cluzel managing to just squeeze out in front, and hold his lead until the checkered flag. A third win of the season for Cluzel, who emerges from the Czech round as the clear contender to Cortese’s championship lead.
Jules Cluzel – P1
“It was really hot! I think everybody enjoyed, but me not so much because I expected him to make the pass. But I give everything until the last lap, it was a close fight and this time I was struggling with the rear grip, I am not sure if Cortese also was. I just tried to do my best on the last lap, and I tried to close the door. I have a big mark on my leathers from when we touched, but it was funny and I think everybody enjoyed it.”
With De Rosa drifting behind in the final laps, and managing his fourth consecutive podium, there was more action at the back.
Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) claimed fourth place over Krummenacher at the end, as well as the fastest lap of the race.
Lucas Mahias – P4
“Today was again a difficult race for me, before starting I knew it would be like this because I knew we had a problem with lack of speed. It was difficult to follow the other riders, I pushed a lot in the beginning, but when the tyre started to slide I lost the edge and knew I couldn’t push harder. I’m a little happy because I pushed at the end to keep Krummenacher behind and I won that battle. I am very confident for Misano because will have some updates that we are working on together and I’m confident we can arrive at the podium.”
Thomas Gradinger (NRT) completed an excellent Sunday for the NRT team with his best result of the campaign in sixth.
Another frantic battle in the middle of the pack between Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) and Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), with the veteran Australian edging ahead of the new CIA Landlord rider for seventh place.
Anthony West – P7
“Looking at my lap times, we had the pace to finish farther up the field, but after colliding with another rider on lap one, I just put my head down and tried to catch as many people as I could. I had a big moment on lap six in turn three. I thought we missed the mark on setup, but then two turns later I saw Morais crash after losing the front in turn five. I just tried to settle down and let the tires recover after abusing them when I was coming through the field. After the tires cooled down, I was able to attack again. I felt like I was on the limit catching and passing riders because our bike is still lacking acceleration off the corners. I can’t even draft pass anyone, I have to dive bomb people on the brakes. We need to find more engine power.”
Behind, Eerneli Lahti (Sterkman Motorsport by HRP) took his first top-10 finish of the campaign in ninth, scoring vital points for the FIM Europe Supersport Cup.
Can the championship battle get any closer? There’s four weeks until the WorldSSP riders go back on track at Misano.
#CzechWorldSBK WorldSSP at Autodromo Brno – Race
Jules Cluzel (NRT)
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) +0.148
Rafaelle de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) +3.368
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 7
Sandro Cortese (GER) Yamaha (122 points)
Jules Cluzel (FRA) Yamaha (120 points)
Randy Krummencher (GER) Yamaha (105 points)
Galang Hendra Pratama (BIBLION YAMAHA MOTOXRACING) was phenomenal for a third day in a row at the Automotodrom Brno, flying away from pole at the start and securing his second race win in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, after winning at Jerez last season.
Walid Khan (Nutec- Benjan – Kawasaki) took his first WorldSSP300 podium in second with Borja Sánchez (ETG Racing) in third, in a race that ended early due to a red flag.
The Indonesian lost his pole lead momentarily to Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) at turn one, but two corners later the 19 year old was back out in front, quickly making space between himself and the near 40 riders behind.
With Hendra Pratama running away at the front, the fight for second turned into a vintage WorldSSP300 scuffle to the line, with Carrasco defending her place from attacks by Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) and the surprising Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), up from 17th on the grid.
A mistake by Carrasco put her at the back of a ten rider strong group of riders, with several more incredibly close behind. And with the riders gearing up for a thrilling race finish, it was suddenly all over: a crash in the back group forced a red flag, and with seven laps out of 10 having been completed (over two thirds of the full race distance) the race end was declared.
As things stood, Khan and Sanchez completed the podium, with Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) in fourth, Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) in fifth and the returning Nick Kalinin (GP Project Team) in sixth.
The red flag came at the worst moment possible for Carrasco, back in eleventh and out of the top 10 for the first time this year; she remains the championship leader, however, with Sanchez now second 20 points behind, and Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), tenth at Brno, falling to third one point below the ETG Racing rider.
Galang Hendra Pratama – P1
“I am very very happy, it’s an incredible race, I can’t say anymore! I want to say thank you to my team, to Yamaha and all my sponsors and friends. Finally I got the first position, so thank you very much.”
“I’m a bit upset with the result because I think we could have finished further ahead, even so the weekend has been positive. We’re still leading the championship with almost the same advantage that we came with, so we have to be content. We’ll have to work harder to get back on the podium in the next race at Misano. I want to thank the team for this weekend’s work, and to thank Kawasaki.”
#CzechWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at Automotodrom Brno – Race
Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) scored his first win of the 2018 European Superstock 1000 Championship in slippery conditions at the Automotodrom Brno. The Chilean was unstoppable in wet conditions, taking the second win of his STK1000 career, and moving his Aprilia to within just 9 points of the championship lead.
Alessandro Delbianco (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) and Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team) climbed to the rostrum for the first time this year, in second and third, respectively.
It had not rained at the Moravian track since early on Friday morning, but while the STK1000 riders set up on the grid the clouds opened and a weekend’s worth of showers dropped inside fifteen minutes. A soaked start saw Scheib overtake Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing – Van Zon- BMW) inside the first few seconds. The German, unstoppable in dry conditions, has not been able to show that same dominance on a wet track, struggling as he did at Imola four weeks ago.
With Scheib opening a comfortable 3-second gap at the front, there was excitement for the remaining rostrum stops, Marino and Delbianco passing the championship leader inside the first half of the race and holding a thrilling battle for second in tough conditions. Eventually, the 20-year-old Italian got the better of the Yamaha rider, taking his first podium in STK1000.
Reiterberger crossed the line in fourth, with Andrea Mantovani (Nuova M2 Racing) rising from fourteenth on the grid to fifth at the flag. Luca Vitali (Aprilia Racing Team) took his Aprilia into sixth, with Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing) fending off attacks from Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team) to finish seventh. Tamburini loses his second place in the championship to Scheib, also falling 15 points behind Reiterberger.
#CzechWorldSBK STK1000 at Automotodrom Brno – Race
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