When the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship last graced the flowing hills of the Automotodrom Brno, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was a promising 25-year-old with 10 race wins to his name, no world championships, and still very much a diamond in the rough. The contrast on Saturday was startling. Six years later, the KRT rider led a perfect race to take his sixth victory of the season, making him the most successful WorldSBK rider in history with 60 race wins, above the legendary Carl Fogarty.
At the longest track in the season, it was fitting for the action to be more extended than usual. Rea overtook teammate Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at the start, but crashes by Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) forced a red flag and race restart – twice, due to technical issues on the grid.
At the third time of asking, with the race length now down to 16 laps, Sykes defended his position at turn one, but Rea was in front a couple of turns later, keeping Sykes behind and jetting off. The Northern Irishman was also helped by the action behind, with Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) putting Sykes under pressure. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) also joined the fray, swapping positions several times with his teammate in a thrilling battle.
Rea went untroubled from this point forward, leading a composed ride to the finish line. He was the only rider managing laps times under two minutes, keeping a 4-5 second gap from his closest pursuers. The defending champion has now opened an 81-point gap with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), who struggled to finish the race eighth and sees his championship pursuit become even tougher.
Behind the leader, Melandri finally got the best of Sykes in lap 4, taking his best result since round one with second. It’s the fifth podium for Melandri at Brno in WorldSBK, and a fantastic comeback after a disastrous 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 lead the line in race two, a fantastic opportunity to move their personal tussle to the front tomorrow.
A thrilling battle for sixth midway through the race saw Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) emerge triumphant and back into the top positions. He got the best of teammate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), who still managed to beat Davies in the final laps for seventh.
Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) netted himself another top-10 finish. Still not 100%, the Brit still managed to come in ninth at the flag, ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in tenth, the first independent rider at Brno. Yonny Hernández (Team Pedercini Racing) confirmed his good form at the Czech circuit, returning to the WorldSBK paddock in eleventh after missing the UK Round.
Results race one 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki 2. Marco Melandri – Ducati 3. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki
Rea how he made history
Reigning MOTUL FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) has made history at Automotodrom Brno this weekend, reaching 60 WorldSBK victories to become the most successful rider of all time. Read how he has written his names in the history books:
2nd February 1987 – Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland
1997 – British 60cc motocross champion
2003 – Moved over to road racing – British 125GP Championship
2004 – Joined British Supersport Championship
2007 – British Superbike Championship Runner-Up
2008 – Debuted in World Supersport Championship and wild card in WorldSBK
2009 – Moved to WorldSBK with Honda, first victory in Misano’s Race Two
2012 – Took his 10th WorldSBK victory at Donington Park – Race Two
2015 – Joined Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK, Crowned World Champion
2015 – Secured his 20th WorldSBK Victory in WorldSBK, in Assen Race One. His 5th for Kawasaki
2015 – 25th WorldSBK victory secured in Portimao Race Two
2016 – Took 30th WorldSBK victory in the opening race of the season at Phillip Island
2016 – First back to back world champion since Carl Fogarty
2017 – Won his 40th race victory at Phillip Island’s race two
2017 – First rider in history to take three WorldSBK titles in a row and secured his 50th race win
2018 – Equalled Carl Fogarty’s overall win record at Imola, his 59th overall
2018 – Secured most victories ever in WorldSBK at Automotodrom Brno
Congratulate Rea with the hashtag #REAcord on social media channels.
Jonathan Rea WorldSBK Career Stats