Once a regular circuit on the WorldSBK trail, the Automotodrom Brno returns in 2018 to host the seventh round of the WorldSBK Championship this weekend. KRT duo Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes are eager to get going again after their recent home round at Donington, with each looking to add to their winning tallies.
Triple World Champion Jonathan Rea extended his championship lead in assured fashion last time out, but just missed out on a race win that would have taken his career tally to a stand alone all-time record of 60. He has already declared that he will be riding only for two race wins at Brno, where he has competed six times before, scoring three podiums, including a race win in 2010.
Brno is one of the few current FIM Superbike World Championship venues that Tom Sykes has not won a race at in his impressive career, but he has scored two second places in the Czech Republic, in 2012. When Sykes took his WorldSBK championship title in 2013 Brno was no longer a WorldSBK venue, and it has not re-appeared on the calendar until this season.
Although Brno has been missing from the calendar for some years KRT has tested at the Czech venue recently, with highly positive results. The 5.403km long purpose-built Brno circuit stands close to the historic real roads GP circuit, and is one of the most flowing layouts on the calendar. Wide chicanes, geometric corners and a power-sapping uphill approach to the final two turns characterise a modern day classic of circuit design.
Rea leads the championship by 64 points at present, having scored five race wins already. Currently Sykes is fourth in the championship, tied on points with the rider ranked one place above him. Sykes became the all-time Superpole record holder at Donington, after taking his 44th career Superpole win.
Despite more stringent rev limits imposed on Kawasaki than any other manufacturer this season, under the current balancing rules in WorldSBK, young Turkish rider Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) scored his first podium last time out in Donington, before re-singing for his team for the 2019 season. Other Kawasaki regulars Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki), Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) and Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) will also be back in action at Brno.
The halfway point of the 13-round, 26-race season will be reached after race one at Brno. After the Czech weekend there will be a swift relocation to North America, for the US round at Laguna Seca between the 22nd and 24th of June.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “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.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “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.”
2018 KRT Rider Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016 & 2017
2018: Races 12, Wins 5, Podiums 10, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 59 (44 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 122 (80 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 16 (12 for Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2018: Races: 12, Wins 1, Podiums 5, Superpoles 2
Career Race Wins: 34 (34 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 105 (104 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 44 (44 for Kawasaki)
5 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016 & 2017), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
3 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017)
3 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016 & 2017)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 115 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 364 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 77 – second overall