The WSBK circus reconvened last weekend at the Automotodrom Brno, in the rolling hills of the southeast part of the Czech Republic. The nearby city of of the same name is located on the confluence of ancient trade routes, which is fitting, because the Roman Emperor, Max Biaggi, erstwhile buccaneer and master of all he surveys, certainly did the business at the hilly circuit, taking a second place and and a win on the day to boost his points lead to 68 over his nearest challenger, Alstare Suzuki's Leon Haslam.
Race 1 -- Rea of Hope
After a frankly terrifying start where Jakob Smrz lost the front on his new-to-him Aprilia RSV4 into turn 1, skittling a hapless Max Neukirchner and Chris Vermuelen off track and out of the race, Ten Kate Honda's Jonny Rea took the lead with a pass on at turn 11 and settled into a fairly boring groove with Rea leading all 20 laps en route to his first victory since his double win at Assen more than two months ago. After a miserable outing at Misano, where he finished 13th and 12th, the win was a much-needed boost to both Rea's and the Dutch team's morale. The on-again off-again chattering problem that has plagued the Honda was held in abeyance, at least temporarily at Brno, enabling Rea do no wrong
Here at last is the official press release put out by the Fiat Yamaha team on Rossi's test at Brno:
Brno, Czech Republic
12th July 2010
ROSSI TESTS AGAIN IN BRNO
Valentino Rossi today completed a second day of testing, this time at Brno in the Czech Republic, in order to better understand his physical condition following the broken leg he sustained at Mugello five weeks ago. He once again rode a Yamaha YZF-R1 machine, provided by the Yamaha World Superbike Team to the Fiat Yamaha Team
Rossi completed 46 laps with a best time of 1'59.135. Following today's positive test he will now wait for a final medical check on Wednesday before making a decision about riding at Sachsenring. Wataru Yoshikawa, who stood in for Rossi at the last round in Catalunya, is travelling to Germany and has been entered as a substitute rider once again.
Yamaha awaits Valentino's final personal decision as to when he feels ready to ride again. Yamaha's priority is a full recovery to fitness for Valentino rather than a quick comeback.
It's the Monday after a World Superbike race, and as usual, Infront Motor Sports have highlights from the weekend's racing. Below are the highlights from all three races, or you can head on over to the official World Superbike Youtube channel to watch the highlights in a wider screen resolution. And for those of you wanting to watch the entire races, rather than just highlights, check out the Italian channel La7, where they have full length versions of WSBK race 1, WSBK race 2 and the WSS race, complete with excitable Italian commentary and commercials.
World Superbike race 1 highlights:
Valentino Rossi's return to racing looks increasingly likely to take place sooner rather than later. After testing a Yamaha R1 at Misano last Wednesday, the Italian is now scheduled to test James Toseland's World Superbike R1 at Brno on Monday afternoon. Rossi is due to fly in to Brno tomorrow, and prepare for the test in the afternoon.
The test will be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, of course, it will be a measure of Rossi's fitness, who now seems to be pushing hard to return to racing at the Sachsenring next weekend, rather than Brno a month later. Rossi's return is being eagerly awaited by everyone in the MotoGP paddock - and especially by Dorna, who are struggling with falling TV ratings. Rossi will also be using Pirelli tires, rather than the Bridgestones he used at Misano, making a direct comparison between Rossi's times and those of the World Superbike riders much easier, though Rossi is still carrying an injury to his shoulder and is recovering from a broken tibia.
Results of Superpole:
BMW's Troy Corser crashed heavily during the first qualifying session for the World Superbike class at Brno, and was taken to hospital for further inspection. The Australian veteran has a painful chest, but so far, no serious injuries have been found.
Even though the US round of World Superbikes has come and gone, John Gardner, Media Manager over at Miller Motorsports Park continues to organize teleconferences with the top World Superbike riders, to talk about how the season is progressing. Earlier this week, it was the turn of Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa, currently third in the championship and the best of the Ducatis, despite being on what is in essence a privateer bike. During the call, Checa covered a number areas, including the big improvements that Pirelli has made with the spec tire, the need for more power for the Ducatis, and the minimal effect that the weight reduction has had. Here's what Checa had to say:
After the Misano round of World Superbikes, the WSBK paddock packed up and headed a few miles up the road for two days of testing at Imola. Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow ended the test on top of the timesheets, breaking the track record along the way. The young Briton finished the test ahead of Xerox Ducati's Michel Fabrizio, while Leon Haslam ended in third. After a difficult weekend at Misano, third fastest was a big improvement for the Alstare Suzuki rider. Ten Kate Honda's Johnny Rea showed a similar improvement, ending testing just a couple of hundredths behind Haslam.
The test also saw a couple of big crashes. Haslam had two big crashes, though it did not prevent him from setting the 3rd fastest time. In the second crash, Haslam slammed into Shane Byrne, the Althea Ducati rider coming off worst, Byrne being examined for a suspected fractured metacarpal bone in his hand.
The World Superbike paddock now heads to the Czech Republic, and the following round at Brno in 10 days' time.
The weekend is over, and motorcycle race fans are returning to work, after two days of racing action from Assen and Misano. As ever on a Monday, Infront Motor Sports have posted the highlights from the weekend's World Superbike races on their Youtube channel. So if you have 10 minutes to spare from the start of your working week, then check out all the action from the two WSBK and one WSS race from Misano in the videos below. If you have a little more time - and would like to brush up on your Italian while you are at it - you can watch full videos of WSBK race 1 and WSBK race 2 from Misano posted on the website of Italian TV channel La 7. Nothing adds to the excitement of motorcycle racing like Italian commentary, after all. Here's the highlights:
World Superbike Race 1