Kawasaki rider took a historic 60th career World Superbike victory at Brno and set a new absolute record in the number of gold cups in the Premier class.
The world championship returned to Brno after a five-year pause. After 2012 Automotodrom Brno concentrated all its attention to the Czech Grand Prix in MotoGP, and it had neither the strength nor funds for the WSBK. But in 2017 Dorna took measures to remain The Superbike in Central Europe, concluding an advantageous contract with a local promoter.
Fast, very smooth track, artfully placed into the landscape of the Moravian National Park, is loved by riders and spectators. Visiting any races at Brno - whether it's MotoGP or WSBK – is strictly required for any motorsport fan, as from the point of widening the horizon, as well as to obtain pure, genuine pleasure from the event itself and the energy of the place.
At the same time, due to the autodrome features organizers should observe some important rules. For example, air fence, softening steel bumpers, is a mandatory attribute because of the riders’ top speed in turns. Because of the inability to increase the departure zones, even temporary damage of air fence immediately causes red flags.
The race was red-flagged at the start of the fourth lap, after a crash for Michael Ruben Rinaldi at Turn 5 on the previous tour punctured an air fence.
A 20-minute delay followed while the air fence was repaired, while there was a further delay due to a fault with the start lights before the race got underway again. Riders returned on the track practically without changing their positions.
Jonathan Rea took the leading position from the standing start and left all rivals on the way to his record victory. He had a second advantage on lap 1, and over 5 seconds on lap 15. Everything was clear with the winner, and the real fight began between Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes. As a result, the Ducati pilot took the second place, while Kawasaki Racing’s Sykes finished 7.336s off the leader’s pace.
Double Donington Park winner Van der Mark was fourth in the final few laps, and kept Lowes at bay to the finish to secure fourth and pole for the second race, with Lowes heading Aprilia duo Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori. Ducati's Chaz Davies battled hard with the Aprilias, but faded in the end to eighth, while Leon Camier (Honda) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) rounded out the top 10.
But exactly Rea received all the glory!
Rea remained unchallenged to the flag to claim his sixth win of the year and surpass the tally of 59 WSBK victories set by four-time champion Fogarty in 1999. Also Jonathan set another record - he became the first in the list among the pilots who took victories on a motorcycle of one brand. Before there were another Ducati riders - Carl Fogarty with 55 victories and Troy Bayliss with 52 wins.
And this statistics can become history, if Jonathan Rea takes his second victory at Brno.
Rea's victory now gives him 81 points clear in the championship battle, with Davies holding second, 10 points ahead of Sykes.
1. Jonathan Rea GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR 16 laps
2. Marco Melandri ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +5.381s
3. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10RR +7.336s
4. Michael van der Mark NED PATA Yamaha YZF-R1 +11.893s
5. Alex Lowes GBR PATA Crescent Yamaha R1 +13.145s
6. Eugene Laverty IRE Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +14.210s
7. Lorenzo Savadori ITA Milwaukee Aprilia RSV4 +17.051s
8. Chaz Davies GBR Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +17.743s
9. Leon Camier GBR Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2 +18.104s
10. Toprak Razgatlioglu TUR Puccetti Kawasaki ZX-10RR +21.783s
11. Yonny Hernandez COL Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10RR +30.614s
12. Leandro Mercado ARG Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki ZX-10RR +31.111s
13. Roman Ramos ESP Team GoEleven Kawasaki ZX-10RR +31.188s
14. Xavi Fores ESP Barni Ducati Panigale R +31.864s
15. PJ Jacobsen USA TripleM Honda CBR1000RR SP2 +33.079s
16. Michael Ruben Rinaldi ITA Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R +33.685s
17. Ondrej Jezek CZE Guandalini Yamaha YZF-R1 +53.662s
18. Loris Baz FRA Althea BMW S1000RR +1m
— Jake Gagne USA Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2
— Jordi Torres ESP MV Agusta 1000 F4