The seventh round of the World Superbike Championship continued from a sunny Brno this weekend with podiums and points for SHARK’s supported riders.
Gino Rea took his first World Supersport win this season making full advantage of his front-row start, Rea led the field for ten laps before the race was red flagged. The results counted back to lap 15 saw Rea awarded the win by 0.448 seconds ahead of fellow SHARK-rider Fabien Foret. Sam Lowes was in contention for a strong podium finish, but he experienced loss of rear tyre traction and had a hard fight to finish in sixth place, where he lies in the overall championship.
Meanwhile, British Superbike rookie Alex Lowes and twin brother of Sam enjoyed a taste of the World Superbike Championship riding for the Castrol Honda team, as a stand-in for the injured Jonathan Rea. The young SHARK-rider made real progress with his overall pace from first practice and during race one was just one and half seconds per lap from the winning rider, despite a lack of experience aboard the Castrol Honda machine. Lowes impressed the paddock finishing in 15th place in his SBK debut. On lap six of the second race he fell while trying to maintain his pace on a hotter track and was unable to restart – He was not injured in the fall. Lowes will ride again for the Castrol Honda team at his home SBK round at Silverstone.
Fellow SHARK-riders Tom Sykes and Sylvain Guintoli enjoyed a weekend in the points; Sykes finished race one and two in 14th position aboard his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, and French-man Guintoli came home in the top-ten in ninth place in race one.
The SBK riders and teams now have a break in the calendar before heading to Silverstone for the British round of the championship, 29-31 July.
Gino Rea, World Supersport: first: « It was so strange sitting at the front of a race. I just tried to get my head down and not make any mistakes after I lost the front on the second lap. I saved it on my elbow for the second time this weekend so I just tried to run my own race and be a bit protective of my lines, getting a good exit so they could not come past me down the straight. I knew Fabien was behind me, but I held it to the finish. Unfortunately we did not get to the last lap because we had a few little things planned to stay in front. I was not showing my all, let’s put it that way. I was saving my tyres a bit and I knew Fabien would be strong on the brakes and he could go into corners early. I was going in really wide to get good drive, but it never went down to the last lap anyway. I have to be honest, I got a bit of luck at the end, but I think it is about time we deserved a bit of luck. »
Fabien Foret, World Supersport: second: « First, I want to thank the team for all their work this weekend. We were unlucky with the quick-shifter and tried to change it on the grid, but it was more a problem inside with the electronics, so it didn’t work. I was really worried how I would be able to race. I was losing a lot of time, especially going uphill and having to downshift manually the whole time. I didn’t resist when Gino went past, but it looked like he was really on the limit. I was struggling a bit but stayed with him. It was easy in some corners and more difficult in others. I was planning to attack him in the last two laps, but then the red flag came out. The confidence is back, the team’s way of working is now really good after Aragon, and I’m looking forward to going to Silverstone to try again. »
Sam Lowes, World Supersport: sixth: « We made a big step up this morning in warm-up, using an old tyre. I had loads and loads of grip at the start of the race, fantastic. I got past Salom, got my head down and then lost all grip in the rear. We did so many race distance tests this weekend as well. But for some reason we dropped off two seconds a lap. I was spinning out of every corner. We are 12 points off second place and have Silverstone coming up, so we will be alright. »
Alex Lowes, World Superbike – race one: 15th – race two: DNF: « Race one was pretty good. I have been modifying my riding style for the bike over the weekend and improving the settings so I was happy with race one. I only struggled with pace a little bit towards the end when the tyres were really worn. I was looking forward to race two, but my start was not so good and I was missing a bit of feeling so I went back to my old style of riding and that is what caused me to crash. I just took the brake into the middle of the corner, so my fault. I had been working a lot on going square into the corners in practice and getting a good exit, which is the correct way to ride the bike. »