It was a fantastic weekend for BMW at the World Superbike races in the Czech Republic at Brno July 22, but Kawasaki deserves as many headlines.
Although BMW’s Marco Melandri won both of the weekend’s races, Lead green rider Tom Sykes once again took the pole position – for the seventh time in nine races this year – and fought with Melandri to the last lap in both races, showing that the team has gone a long way toward curing the ZX10R’s predilection for eating rear tires during a race. Sykes’ two seconds left him third in the championship chase.
His 19-year-old team-mate, Loris Baz, was over the moon with a third place in the first race. “I could not dream of being on the podium when I started in Superbike just a few races ago,” said the French youngster. “I started well and just tried to stay there with the other riders. We have been working very well in Kawasaki, all the mechanics and so on, and we never go in the wrong way.”
An eighth in the second race was nothing to be ashamed of either.
Third in the second race went to Althea Ducati’s Carlos Checa, the 2011 champion collecting a fourth in race one to keep him fourth in the championship chase. The Spanish veteran said, “Overall it was a good weekend … Considering this track and that we lose a lot in acceleration overall they are good results for us.”
Championship leader Max Biaggi had another relatively lacklustre weekend at a track he adores and has had great success at in the past. A fourth and a sixth were nothing to brag about to his Aprilia employers, although he does still maintain a reasonable lead over a charging Melandri at the 2/3 point of the series.
In the first race Sykes was going to make a late charge at Melandri but had a collision with Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathon Rea, putting Rea out and losing Sykes the chance for a win.
The Yorkshireman said, “I felt the hit – Jonathan went for a gap that unfortunately was not there. I tried to stay with Marco in race one and when I attacked the corner the front was not allowing me to attack so I ran a bit wide to square the corner off and when I did I just saw a bit of Jonathan in my side view, at which point it was too late.”
The Effenbert-Liberty team, subject to great speculation before the race after the highly-publicized departure of star rider Sylvain Guintoli and a number of mechanics, did enter the race despite worries it might be folding due to money issues. Jakob Smrz and Maxime Berger both competed. We haven’t heard from Brett McCormick about the situation yet – the injured Canadian was due to rejoin the team at the next race at Silverstone in the U.K. in early August – but we’ll pass on any news when we get it.
Next race Silverstone, U.K., August 5
World Championship Point Standings (after 18 of 28 races):
1. Max Biaggi, Italy, Aprilia Racing Team, 271.5 points
2. Marco Melandri, Italy, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 250.5
3. Tom Sykes, U.K., Kawasaki Racing Team, 212.5
4. Carlos Checa, Spain, Althea Ducati, 204.5
5. Jonathon Rea, U.K., Castrol Ten Kate Honda, 187
6. Leon Haslam, U.K., BMW Motorrad Motorsport, 160
7. Eugene Laverty, U.K., Aprilia Racing Team, 148
8. Sylvain Guintoli, France, Effenbert-Liberty Ducati, 110
9. Davide Giugliano, Italy, Althea Ducati, 99
10. Chaz Davies, U.K., ParkinGO Aprilia Racing Team, 93