2018 Superbike World Championship Round 7 - Superpole & Race 1:
Jonathan Rea (KRT) won the opening WorldSBK race at the Automotodrom Brno and in doing so smashed his way to a new record total of 60 race wins in his WorldSBK career, surpassing the 59 race victories taken by Carl Fogarty. Tom Sykes (KRT) finished third in today’s race, having extended his Superpole record to 45 earlier in the day.
Triple World Champion Jonathan Rea was in imperious form in taking his record number of race wins to a new high. It was not an easy task after having to face three starts from second place on the grid, in a race that was twice delayed and then finally run over 16 laps, not the planned 18. A red flag for a damaged section of air fence and then a false launch after the starting lights developed a fault, saw the race finally underway at 13.40.
Once off and running for real Rea put as much space as possible between him and the pursuing pack, in what turned out to be warm and dry conditions at the 5.403km long Automotodrom Brno. Jonathan took his historic 60thwin by a margin of 5.382 seconds over Marco Melandri, who finished just under two seconds ahead of Tom.
Starting from his third pole position of the season, Sykes was the closest challenger to Rea in the early part of the 16-lap race. Tom held off all the challengers behind except Melandri to record his 106thcareer podium visit, and his sixth top-three finish of the season.
Today marks the exact halfway point of the 2018 season, with 13 of the 26 races planned for 2018 now completed. In the championship Jonathan leads Chaz Davies by 81 points – 270 to 189 - with Tom back into third place today on 179 points.
The second Brno race will take place on Sunday the 10thof June, at 13.00 local time in the Czech Republic.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am really happy. Of course it is hard to get super-ecstatic and go and start celebrating, although it is worth celebrating being the winningest rider in WorldSBK history, but we have another race to do tomorrow. I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity, riding a great bike and to be here every weekend. To win the 60thrace in that fashion, being dominant, was really nice. I could ride to my pit board at some points, which was also nice. It was a huge team effort, especially after coming here to test after Assen and before Imola, because it was such a tight schedule. It made yesterday less stressful because the conditions were not good for anybody. We were not so worried, because we had done two full days at Brno where we had evaluated all set-ups. We put it together from there.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “The stops and starts were not ideal today and we have to be so careful not to burn the clutch. It was a bit of a scrappy start procedure but we eventually got underway in safe conditions and we made the best of our situation. I tried to go initially with Jonathan but I just could not get the bike through the middle of the turns, and gave away too much on the cutback. The front was under-steering and in hot conditions it looks like everybody was struggling. I was just following the front all the way around turn one and turn four and had a lot of warnings in that race, but we got the feedback through the Showa suspension and took a third place. It isn’t a perfect scenario but it is a lot better than some of the other guys, so we have to be grateful.”
2018 Superbike World Championship Round 7 - Race 2:
Two moments of misfortune prevented either KRT rider from scoring points in the second WorldSBK race at Brno, with Jonathan Rea out on lap three and Tom Sykes falling on lap six. Sykes restarted, finished 16th and missed a championship point by one place. Rea still enjoys a handsome lead in the standings after round seven, with Sykes in fourth position overall.
On the hottest day of the WorldSBK weekend in Brno the 18-lap second race offered up several surprise results. These included a rare DNF for triple World Champion Jonathan Rea, after an accidental clash with his team-mate Tom Sykes on lap three, at turn 12.
As the official Kawasaki riders vied for track position they arrived on the same line at the corner exit and after they touched Rea crashed. After his emphatic race one win on Saturday, and recording the greatest ever number of race wins in WorldSBK history as a result, Rea still left Brno with a new record of 60 race wins and an extended 65 point championship lead.
With Sykes and Rea starting off the third row, after they each scored podiums on the opening day of racing, they were running in sixth and seventh position respectively early in race two. Sykes survived the early scare at Turn 12, but fell on lap six, in the middle of turn 10.
Despite his low-side crash Tom’s bike could be ridden again and he completed the race, just missing out on a championship point.
In the overall standings Rea leads still with 270 points, Chaz Davies is second with 205, Michael van der Mark has 196 and Sykes 179.
The United States round, at Laguna Seca, will be next up for the WorldSBK riders, with race weekend being held between the 22ndand 24th of June.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “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.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “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.”
2018 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 7:
- JONATHAN REA 270 KAWASAKI
- CHAZ DAVIES 205 DUCATI
- MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 196 YAMAHA
- TOM SYKES 179 KAWASAKI
- MARCO MELANDRI 157 DUCATI
- ALEX LOWES 154 YAMAHA
- XAVI FORES 134 DUCATI
- TOPRAK RAZGATLIOGLU 91 KAWASAKI
- LORENZO SAVADORI 73 APRILIA
- LEON CAMIER 72 HONDA
- LORIS BAZ 72 BMW
- JORDI TORRES 64 MV AGUSTA
- EUGENE LAVERTY 60 APRILIA
- MICHAEL RUBEN RINALDI 54 DUCATI
- LEANDRO MERCADO 42 KAWASAKI
- ROMÁN RAMOS 41 KAWASAKI
- JAKE GAGNE 24 HONDA
- PJ JACOBSEN 21 HONDA
- YONNY HERNANDEZ 18 KAWASAKI
- LEON HASLAM 14 KAWASAKI
- DAVIDE GIUGLIANO 11 APRILIA
- BRADLEY RAY 3 SUZUKI
- LUKE MOSSEY 2 KAWASAKI
- ONDREJ 2 JEZEK