2012 Brno WSBK Sunday Round Up: It Ain't Easy Being Green

Brno is one of the widest tracks on the calendar and is a track that doesn't favour a particular manufacturer. The width gives riders plenty of opportunities to pass, and offers more than one line around corners, but nobody was expecting the sheer variety of trajectories taken in the opening laps of the first World Superbike race.

After an overnight downpour and a Superstock race so drenched that it could have been called off at any minute, the first race was labelled wet, but was dry enough to be fought in slicks. The first few laps involved lines that have probably never been taken at race pace before, with Tom Sykes in particular running away at the start on the outside of each corner where the track had dryed. Only Maxime Berger with cut slicks was brave enough to pass people on the inside and run normal lines at the front. The damp conditions gave Sykes the same sort of advantage as he had at the half-race he won at Monza, easing the pressure the Kawasaki puts on the tyres. His second place seemed to affirm the views of his critics or those of the green bike. Until Race Two.

Marco Melandri may have proven today that he can mount a serious challenge for the championship, claiming BMW's first double-win, but it was Tom Sykes in race two that impressed the most. Even if he didn't win, we saw a racer turning a corner. Melandri was on form, earning both wins the hard way, but in a clear dry race, Sykes kept him honest, keeping the audience on their toes throughout the last five laps as the cut and thrust of racing was demonstrated in front of a silenced audience.

Both BMW and Kawasaki had good days. BMW took their first double win while Kawasaki won the Superstock 1000, took a first and a second in World Supersport and had three podiums over the two World Superbike races.

The championship is narrowing with Marco Melandri narrowing Max Biaggi's lead to just 21 points. Biaggi's weekend culminated in a sixth and a fourth place, a remarkable recovery from 14th place on the grid, but his Saturday gamble on tyres ruined his chances to race for the podium. Biaggi complained about chatter, hoping that the problem won't follow him to Silverstone. With his team mate Eugene Laverty getting an electronic issue cleared up, maybe they should look at Biaggi's package if he's to maintain his title lead.

Marco Melandri, having signed a contract to race for the BMW Motorrad Italia squad next year, can get on with the racing, but his team mate Leon Haslam hasn't got anything set up for next year and has to rely on getting some good results in front of his home crowd at the next meeting because, on a day where Melandri put the same bike as he's riding in the best seat in Parc Fermé, a brace of seventh places doesn't look too good.

Last year, Carlos Checa got two third places. He was thwarted of the podium in the first race by a crashing Jonathan Rea but equalled his podium result in race two, after being left to settle for third by Melandri and Sykes's incredible high-speed precision duel to the flag. Even with his team mate Davide Giugliano impressing on Friday and Saturday, and with his second place qualifying, third looked like the best the Ducati could hope for today. Giugliano crashed out of second place in race one and languished in 11th place for race two, complaining about a lack of grip.

While Sykes grabs all the headlines for Kawasaki, today Loris Baz proved that he too deserved the factory seat, snatching his first podium in the tricky conditions of the first race. When he was fighting with bigger names, the lanky Frenchman kept his cool and rode like it was just another race, muscling his green bike through the chicanes and making himself hard to pass.

Jonathan Rea, however, didn't have as good a day, crashing out of race one after making contact with Tom Sykes after trying for a gap that had disappeared by the time his front wheel was at the apex. Sykes went wide and squared off the corner to make a late apex and Rea lunged for the gap, high siding his Honda into the path of Carlos Checa and out of a certain podium place. Luckily, Rea wasn't hurt and he made the start of the next race. Managing only 12th, he complained of a massive loss of grip on the edge of the tyre. His team mate Hiroshi Aoyama finished neither race.

In World Supersport, the talented Fabien Foret turned up, instead of the slower version that sometimes shows up in his place. Even returning to his characteristic looking over his shoulder in the middle of a race, this was the Foret of old. Unfortunately, he was racing against the Kenan Sofuoglu of new, an eager racer who was determined to win at any cost. Unfortunately, Ronan Quarmby took a massive turn and caused the race to be red flagged before Sofuoglu could break away to consolidate his fresh lead. Quarmby was helicoptered off to hospital and checked over, but luckily, he was just badly bruised and tweeting shortly after. Broc Parkes took the podium spot I predicted he wouldn't, and he looked like he was angry to get only third. Foret looked like the only happy man on the podium.

Brno is one of those tracks that seems to give us good racing and this weekend, even in spite of the varied weather, was no exception. 

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Where to now for Hiro Aoyama? He's having a truely aweful season, ony 3 top ten finishes , 2 of which were at the opening round round. I know the Honda in SBK isnt that competitive, but with JR constantly at the sharp end, he should be able to get regular top 10 results at very least.

Unbelievable really for a rider who beat Simoncelli to the last 250cc Championship on an inferior bike.

I think he could go well in Moto2 if he got a decent ride and got some confidence back, but I dont think either of those things is going to happen in a hurry.

Back to the Japanese domestic series to rub fairings with Kiyo?

This hurts to see the last 250GP world champion in history to struggle so bad in MotoGP then WSBK. He was hurt in MotoGP, maybe the big WSBK bikes don't suit him, maybe he's not sharp enough in his mind, I don't know but obviously something is very wrong, he is not where he belongs.
Here's to Hiro finding the champion in his inner-self again!

Baz on the picture looks like Jaws from 007 james bond;)

btw, he rode ZX-10 in the way I knew his performance won't get regressed. Taking corner little sooner than rider ahead of him without sliding (tyres!) step by step allowed himself to keep the performance and even make a proggres. In my opinion it's something Melandri uses and Sykes just used it more just in second Brno race (he usually is more a 'slider' from what I've seen on tv)
Maybe it's something Sykes would change/add to his riding style? It's of course an opinion from totally amateur as I see myself. Anyway it's great to see Kawasaki taking 2/3 - 1/2 - 2 places in all 3 races at Brno! To compare their current WSBK results with all past years (from e.g. 2000 season) even multiple Superpoles are such an achievement.

Phenomenal racing at Brno.

1) Great to see Sykes make the big leap in lack of tire degradation. Must be so frustrating to lead, then inexorably slide backwards. I'd love to see him win at upcoming Silverstone! (I am American, not a Brit).

2) Bonehead move by Aoyama. He loses his ride soon. Don't know the rider he took out but the poor bastidge took a rough ride underneath Aoyama's bike.

3) Rea's wasn't much better. I was worried for his health, that was a hell of a spill he took. He had a better engine and it showed and he still crashed his way out of a podium spot. Tsk tsk.

4) What was up with Biaggi, he usually slays at Brno?

5) Despite the fact that he occasionally makes some serious mental errors, Melandri seems like the class of the field now, he's making Haslam look bad. Biaggi has to be looking over his shoulder now and not liking what he sees.

5) Hard to believe Checa did as well as he did at a such a horsepower-requiring track. Don't think he will win the championship, but you gotta love the guy. I know I do.

6) More shots of Melandri's girlfriend please. The best thing about him winning is watching her jump for joy. What I wouldn't give to be one of the crew members she hugs lol. What a contrast in height between he and her!

Which broadcast were you watching? The rider in front of Aoyama (blue bike)made contact with the rear wheel of the racer in front of him and and crashed. It was all Aoyama could do to not run him completely over. If anything, Aoyama should get a medal for not crushing the guy's skull, because he really had no where to go.