The uncharted waters of Brno

Wednesday, 6 June 2018 15:40 GMT

Very few current riders have recorded wins at the Czech track, where experience will be a virtue

With Round 7 of the 2018 season comes the first true step into the unknown for most of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship riders. Many are yet to grace the tarmac of Brno, and fewer yet have rode out in their current categories, especially those in the FIM Supersport World Championship, FIM Supersport 300 World Championship, and European Superstock 1000 Championship.

However, amongst the hundred-plus riders that will set out on track this weekend, a select few have tasted glory in Czech lands – albeit, many years ago. Only two riders currently in the WorldSBK field have won at the Czech circuit in the top class: Marco Melandri ( Racing – Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).

Melandri is not just the most experienced rider in the WorldSBK paddock: he has also triumphed at Brno on just about every bike he’s ridden. The Italian’s first win at the Czech circuit came all the way back in August 1998, in the old 125cc championship. To put that date into perspective: out of the 40 riders who will ride out at Brno in WorldSSP300, 30 were not born yet. Since then he won again in 250cc and, most importantly, the last two WorldSBK races held here in 2012.

Rea’s only WorldSBK win at Brno came during his Honda days, and was only his fifth triumph in the championship – a long distance away from his current 59. But Rea had made headlines in Czech lands a couple of years earlier, in 2008: Brno witnessed Rea’s – then 21 – first ever win in a world championship, WorldSSP to be exact. A sign of the magic to come.

Three more WorldSBK riders have tasted victory at Brno: Donington double ace Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) in the old STK600 Cup, and Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) in the Red Bull Rookies Cup.

Not many more can claim to have made the rostrum either: only Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in WorldSBK, Chaz Davies ( Racing – Ducati) in WorldSSP, and Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and homeboy Ondrej Jezek (Guandalini Racing) in STK1000 have checked the view from the Brno podium.

Amongst the WorldSSP riders, only Ayrton Badovini (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) has won at Brno, during his STK1000 career, while two-wheel veteran Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) took third place in the Supersport race nine years ago. Championship leader Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) is a WorldSSP newbie, but he brings experience and two Czech podiums from his Moto2™ and Moto3™ days.

STK1000 riders Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team) and Riccardo Russo (C.M. Racing) have a win in the RBRC and a podium in STK600, respectively, while Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) is the sole WorldSSP300 rider with a top-3 Brno result, also in his Red Bull Rookies career. At Brno, these few names will have one goal in mind: to prove that experience is, as a matter of fact, the best teacher.

Who will emerge victorious from Round 7? Watch all the best coverage of the Acerbis Czech Round thanks to the WorldSBK VideoPass.