WorldSBK 2018 – Brno
Will Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) score his record-breaking 60th win in Brno?
The last win for Ducati in Brno came 10 years ago, in 2008 with a double by Troy Bayliss. The only win for Kawasaki came a quarter of a century ago, in 1993 with Scott Russell.
WorldSBK makes it return to the Automotodrom Brno this weekend, marking the first time since 2012 that the Championship will host a round at this venue. Thus few riders are able to boast previous wins at this circuit..
Reigning world champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) is one of only two riders on the grid to win around the Czech circuit, and after a strong test here will be a firm favourite this weekend. Rea looks at taking a record breaking 60th victory in WorldSBK – something he was unable to secure around Donington Park last time out.
“I’m so excited to go back and race at Brno as it’s one of those wide open proper race circuits with great elevation changes and character. We tested there a few weeks ago and that will certainly give us a head start when it comes to setup on Friday. During the two days we had different weather conditions. We were competitive over one lap, and also consistently, so I’m feeling good about the weekend. I’ve had some great races in Brno in the past. It’s where I won my first World Championship race, in the Supersport class, and I also had a great duel with Max Biaggi in 2010 in WorldSBK. The target this weekend is simple, we are aiming for the top step.”
Standing on the top step around Brno back in 2010, it won’t be a surprise to see Rea has the pace in the Czech Republic, but can he convert this into a victory with his ZX-10RR?
Fresh off the back of his first victory in WorldSBK – which he converted into a double – Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) will have a lot of eyes on him heading into the weekend. Leap frogging into third in the world championship standings, the Dutch rider will hope to continue his phenomenal momentum into the Czech Republic. With experience here in the European Superstock 600 Championship, the 25 year old had a strong test earlier this season meaning he will already have his eyes on the prize.
Michael van der Mark
“After Donington, I’m even more motivated to arrive in Brno! I am so happy with the wins there and the performance of the R1. I’m pretty sure that the bike has improved even more after the test we did in Brno, so I am excited to see what we can do there. I am looking forward to riding on this great track and I will be fighting as hard as I can to get back on the podium again!”
Searching for a strong result off the back of a tough weekend is Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who will hunt down a debut podium around Brno with his Panigale R. Struggling to understand the issues they encountered last time out, the British rider will now head to a track in which he secured a WorldSSP podium, and will hope to make up some ground in the championship standings. 64 points off Rea as we reach the half way point of the season, it’s not over for Davies.
“We’re heading to Brno eager to bounce back after Donington, which wasn’t an easy round for us. We’ll have to take it as it comes, one step at a time. Our first goal is to improve the our package, so we just need to head out on the track together with our rivals. The test we’ve done there was OK but we were playing around with the setup, while the racing weekend is where we need to put it all together. We need to keep working hard and see what happens.”
Team-mate Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) was the last WorldSBK rider to win around Brno, taking the double in 2012, fighting off Tom Sykes in both races. Will he carry this confidence forward and fight for his third win of the year?
“In Brno, first of all, we want to put behind us the issues we faced at Donington. The tests done in Czech Republic went quite well even though our priority was to improve the overall stability and not to prepare a specific setup for the race. The track itself is flowing, I always liked it and scored some good results there. Despite the fact we didn’t race there in a while, I thought the tarmac was in good conditions. We are really keen to do well and our mindset is positive, because each race has been a different story this year.”
2012’s Brno pole position man, and the new Mr Superpole Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) comes fresh from a tough home round at Donington Park, and will be hoping to be back on the podium as SBK heads east. Sykes had a hard weekend in Donington, which saw him secure only one podium finish somewhere he has previously won nine in a row. With eight appearances and two podiums in Brno for Sykes, he will hope to build on it this season.
“We tested at Brno recently and I am going there highly motivated. We had a pretty decent test and I am looking forward to building on the back of that. We made some fundamental changes to the bike and we had a bit of a testing programme to get through. I am ready for it now. We had a decent package for the test so we will use those ideas for our set-up. Brno is a circuit that I always enjoy riding at. It is a definitely flowing track and you spend a lot of time on the side of the tyre. It is an incredible facility – surrounded by woodlands, with a great layout, you notice how wide it is – it has all the ingredients to make it the world-class circuit it is. The only thing I noticed is that the circuit is quite bumpy now, but we will work with that.”
Heading to Brno with a string of top fives in his cabinet, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) has only ever finish in fifth in WorldSBK around Brno, but has plenty of experience to go alongside his results. Continuing to recover from his injury sustained in Thailand, Laverty had a very strong race one at Donington Park of which he will hope to build on as he continues to develop the RSV4 RF.
Lowes recorded two strong fourth-place finishes in Donington after battling for the podium in both races and leading for the majority of Race 2. The 27-year-old British rider is now hoping to return to the podium in Brno – after his third-place finish in Thailand – as he looks to continue the momentum he has been building at the last few rounds. Lowes is currently seventh in the championship standings with 118 points, trailing his teammate by 45 points.
“After testing at Brno, I’m really looking forward to going back there to race. I haven’t ridden the track much in the past but I fell in love with it at the test. It’s a fantastic circuit with some changes of elevation and some fast flowing corners. I think it suits the R1 and my goal is simply to fight for podiums. See you there!”
Heading back to a track in which he secured his debut WorldSBK podium, Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) will be looking at the Brno round with fresh levels of confidence following a strong UK Round last time out. With a front row secured around Donington Park and two top ten finishes, the French rider seems to have made a step in the right direction with the BMW as we reach the half way point of the season. There’s a lot to be said for a good mood, and Baz will be a rider to watch.
“I’m happy to get back on the track this weekend, we’re hoping for a good weekend at Brno. We made a good step at Donington and so I hope we can continue in that direction. It should be a good track for us, I like it at least and have scored solid results in both SBK and GP. We also have a few things to try on the bike, so I hope we can make another step and continue to close the gap to the frontrunners.”
Experience makes a big difference in racing, and for Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) it will be important for him to head to a circuit of which he has experience around. Competing here in the Red Bull Rookies in 2010, Gagne won race two meaning he has proven to have a competitive pace at the track. Hoping to covert this into a strong pace with the Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2, it will be an important weekend for the American as he continues to develop his riding style for the Honda machine.
Preparing to make his WorldSBK debut around the 5.403k circuit, Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) has a big weekend ahead of him. Building on his pace with his new team, the Spanish rider will hope to get back in the battle for the top six after two top 11 results last time out. Sitting in the top ten in the championship standings, he has been having a steady season with his new team.
The circuit of Brno is located 14 km north-west of the homonymous city of the Czech Republic. This track, like other European circuits, was originally born in the 20s as a route of almost 30 km on roads usually open to traffic to host car competitions.
After the Second World War, and over the years to follow, the track was progressively shortened and, starting from 1950, began to host motorcycle competitions.
To comply with the increasingly stringent safety standards imposed to the circuits, in 1987 the permanent racetrack which today everyone knows as the Circuit of Brno was built. The track is one of the longest on the calendar with its 5403 metres. It has eight right hand corners and six left, and the longest straight measures 636 metres. The track has a width of 15 metres with a maximum difference in height of 73 metres, a maximum ascending slope of 7% and a 5% downhill gradient.
The track was re-paved for the last time in 2008 and for this reason nowadays it offers a poor level of natural grip. Brno is a particularly demanding track for front tyres, especially in the right-hand corners, and very high asphalt temperatures can be recorded, especially in the summer months.
After the start the riders face a hairpin bend to the right and then immediately a curve to the left before pushing hard to accelerate to top speed in a straight stretch about half a kilometre long which begins to rise slightly, then finish slightly downhill.
At the end of this straight there is a left-right chicane, another straight (in this case downhill) and then 5 corners called Stadion (with 3 curves on the right and 2 on the left). A third downhill straight follows, at the end of which the hairpin Kevin Schwantz is tackled. At this point a slight climb starts before another left-right chicane, followed by a last uphill straight which ends with the final S-curve which precedes the finish line.
Pirelli Tyre Solutions
In WorldSBK the riders will have eight dry solutions, four for the front and as many for the rear, as well as the supersoft qualifier tyre to be used in the second Superpole session. Among the solutions provided for the front, three have already been used by the riders in the previous rounds: the standard SC1 and SC2 and the development SC1 V0952, the latter very much appreciated by the riders in all the rounds raced this year.
The unique development SC2 X0605, a solution with a rather rigid compound which, compared to the standard SC2, offers greater solidity and precision, so should guarantee a more homogeneous wear and better grip.
As for the rear, the riders will have three solutions in soft compound and one in medium compound. The three soft compounds are: the standard SC0, which until now has been brought in the round of Buriram and Donington Park, the W1050, which compared to the standard SC0 is generally more suitable for cold temperatures, and the new X0175 which makes its debut in Brno.
This uses the same compound as the standard SC0 but presents itself in the innovative 200/65 size which offers a wider contact area, consequently giving better distribution of energy. This solution, compared to the W1002 already used by riders at Imola and Misano, differs for the compound used, which in this case is that of the standard SC0 and not that of the W1050. The last option is represented by the standard SC1.
In WorldSSP, there are four solutions for the front and three for the rear. At the front standard SC1 and SC2 are supported by the soft development solution X0012 and by the new development SC2 X0582 designed to offer greater grip and more contained wear than the standard SC2.
At the rear the standard SC0 will be joined by the development SC0 X0497, which compared to the standard solution should offer better resistance and consistent performance, and from the development SC1 X0093, designed to offer a high consistency of performance and limited wear especially with low temperatures and already brought by Pirelli also to Aragón and Assen.
Championship Standings after Race 2, Round 6
- Jonathan Rea 245
- Chaz Davies 181
- Michael Van Der Mark 163
- Tom Sykes 163
- Marco Melandri 136
- Xavi Fores 124
- Alex Lowes 118
- Toprak Razgatlioglu 78
- Loris Baz 67
- Jordi Torres 64
- Leon Camier 56
- Lorenzo Savadori 53
- Michael Ruben Rinaldi 43
- Leandro Mercado 38
- Eugene Laverty 37
- Román Ramos 32
- Jake Gagne 20
- Pj Jacobsen 18
- Leon Haslam 14
- Davide Giugliano 11
- Yonny Hernandez 11
- Bradley Ray 3
- Luke Mossey 2
- Ondrej Jezek 2
Six years have passed since the FIM Supersport World Championship has raced around the Autodromo Brno, and there are certainly a lot of questions to be asked this weekend for Round Seven. The title charge is still as tight as ever in the WorldSSP championship, and Donington Park threw up even more sensational racing action for fans but as we head to a track which is unknown for many, there will be some question marks over who will come out on top.
Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) reaffirmed himself as a championship contender in round six, taking the race win in a stunning battle out on track. The German rookie has been making waves in the series, and heads to a circuit of which he has a lot of experience around from his time in the MotoGP paddock, taking the win in the 125cc World Championship. Continuing to try to adjust to the Superpole format, Cortese is a hard rider to stop when he has his eyes on the prize and will no doubt be a strong force this weekend.
French rider Jules Cluzel (NRT) is the man who will look to stop Cortese, as he missed out on success in his battle at Donington Park. Finishing in fifth around Brno back in 2012, Cluzel is the only rider this season to take back to back victories and is on a strong run of form with his Indian based team. Gunning for the title this season, Cluzel will be out to be back on the top step in Brno.
Targeting being back at full levels of fitness in the Czech Republic, Randy Krummenacher (BARDHAL Evans Bros. WorldSSP Team) put on yet another sensational battle through the pack around Donington Park. Locked in stunning fights on track and undergoing some hairy moments – despite having a stomach bug – the Swiss rider secured a top five finish, but this isn’t enough when fighting for the title. With limited experience around Brno compared to that of his rivals, it will be yet another big charge to the top.
The one man bringing the fight to the Yamaha’s is Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag), as he continues to consistently take podium finishes in the competitive series. Needing to take that final step for the victory, Brno could be the place for him to do so as his experience could come in handy in Eastern Europe. The Italian is not one scared to fight, so will be a big contender this weekend.
WorldSSP Championship Standings after Round 6
- Randy Krummenacher 81
- Lucas Mahias 79
- Sandro Cortese 77
- Jules Cluzel 75
- Federico Caricasulo 69
- Raffaele De Rosa 51
- Luke Stapleford 45
- Niki Tuuli 38
- Anthony West 27
- Thomas Gradinger 22
…29. Tom Toparis 1
Four down, four to go. With the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship hitting its midway point, the season so far has told a tale of two halves. A pair of opening races with incredibly small margins separating a dozen riders was followed by two absolutely ruthless displays by championship leader Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team).
A new page turns at the Acerbis Czech Round: Brno is a circuit unfamiliar to most of the field, where innate talent will represent the clearest path to success. After the Czech Round there will only be one race left until September, so it may be several riders’ last chance for form and momentum to play a part.
At Donington Park Carrasco wasted little time, leading an unprecedented second consecutive race from lights to flag. Her ‘Grand Slam’ – Tissot Superpole, race win, all laps led and fastest lap – was a first in the WorldSSP300 category, and is unlikely to be repeated any time soon. She is one of the few riders on the grid to have competed before at Brno, racing twice in the Moto3 category. A third consecutive win would not only be a WorldSSP300 record, but could leave her a step away from taking the championship.
It was also a great weekend for her teammate Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), who sneaked to the front of the chasing pack at the final bends of Donington. The South African’s second place was his best result on a WorldSSP300 bike, a shrewd bit of riding that shot him up to a joint-fourth position in the standings.
While Carrasco’s win at Donington was a huge moment for the championship, it was amplified by her closest rivals’ performance in Leicestershire. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) was in second place much of the race, but a mistake on the final lap cost him five positions and 10 points. Deroue actually has a podium appearance at Brno, from his Red Bull Rookies Cup days. Can he put that experience to good use and mount a championship comeback?
Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTMWorldSSP Team) is within 25 points of the title challenge, despite a top ten in the UK. A second victory of the season at Brno could propel Grunwald into the lead, although first the German will need to improve his Friday and Saturday form: he’s started from the fifth row of the grid in the last two races.
Two podium-less races for the ample field of Dutch riders stands in stark contrast with the early season, when several seemed unbeatable. Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) took the opening win of the season but is yet to return to the rostrum since. He was back in the top-five at Donington, however, so perhaps a Brno battle featuring the WorldSSP300 rookie is on the cards. His KTM compatriot Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) is also on 36 points, and after a UK crash should be back in the mix.
WorldSSP300 Championship Standings after Round 4
- Ana Carrasco 73
- Luca Grunwald 51
- Scott Deroue 46
- Borja Sanchez 42
- Dorren Loureiro 42
- Koen Meuffels 36
- Glenn Van Straalen 36
- Mika Perez 32
- Jan-Ole Jähnig 27
- Nick Kalinin 23
…26. Tom Edwards 1
European Superstock 1000 Championship stallions prepare to return to the Automotodrom Brno as they will rise revs and rub elbows at the longest circuit in the 2018 season. 5.4 kilometres worth of straights and bends that could be decisive in how the championship plays out. There’s just four races remaining, including the Acerbis Czech Round, and the room for mistakes is minimal.
Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) jumped back the top of the rostrum at Donington Park with yet another sensational display. The championship leader once again led comfortably from lights to flag, and recovered from a frustrating Imola weekend. Reiterberger last raced at Brno as a seventeen year old, taking his then best STK1000 result of fourth. Seven years on, he arrives here as the one rider with Brno STK1000 experience, as well as a race winner.
One man in particular, has been trying to flip the script. Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team) is the sole rider to have been welcomed by the fans in Parc Ferme after every race this season. Incredibly Tamburini is yet to lead a lap, but with this consistency he may not need to: one slip or mistake by Reiterberger and the Italian could snatch first spot in the standings, sitting ten points behind.
It was Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) who took second position by just eighteen thousandths of a second at Donington Park. The Chilean has scored three consecutive podiums, and troubled Markus Reiterberger’s lead for the first half of the race last time out. Could Scheib go one further at Brno?
Few changes in the standings took place at Donington, but one significant movement was Luca Vitali (Aprilia Racing Team)’s fourth place to push him on par with Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team). The pair have led an intriguing battle behind the four leading riders, with Marino struggling to feel comfortable with his Yamaha, whilst Vitali is growing into the role race by race: taking his best STK1000 result at Donington.
Alessandro Delbianco (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) has scored two front-row starts in the last two rounds, but his excellent qualifying form hasn’t quite translated onto the tarmac yet. Crashing in the first lap at Donington Park and sitting just twelfth in the standings on 15 points, there are nonetheless signs that Delbianco could turn pace into points at Brno.
STK1000 Championship Standings after Round 4
- Markus Reiterberger 86
- Roberto Tamburini 76
- Maximilian Scheib 65
- Federico Sandi 52
- Luca Vitali 42
- Florian Marino 42
- Matteo Ferrari 25
- Riccardo Russo 23
- Gabriele Ruiu 23
- Luca Salvadori 20