The first WSBK race at Brno for six years was won in convincing fashion by Jonathan Rea, securing his place as the rider with the most wins in the history of World Superbikes. After a red flag just three laps into the race for a air fence at turn five and a second restart aborted after starting light issues, the race eventually began.
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 and Alex Lowes putting Sykes under pressure. Donington Park maestro Michael van der Mark joined the fight, swapping positions many times with his teammate in a thrilling battle – one that Brno offers with its many direction changes and constant flow.
Rea went untroubled to break Carl Fogarty’s long-standing record of 59 wins. He was the only rider managing laps times under two minutes, keeping a constant gap from anyone else. The defending champion has now opened an 81 point gap over Chaz Davies, 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 emerge triumphant and back into the top positions. He got the best of teammate Lorenzo Savadori, who was still able to beat Davies in the final laps for seventh.
Leon Camier netted himself another top 10 finish. Still not 100%, the Brit has managed to come in ninth at the flag, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu in tenth, the first independent rider at Brno. Yonny Hernández confirmed his good form at the Czech circuit, returning to the WSBK paddock in 11th after missing the UK Round.
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