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2018 Brno WorldSBK Subscriber Special: Teammate Games Force Czech mate

Internal team rivalries played out in Brno with very different results

“I was going to make it...or I wasn't,” was how King Kenny Roberts summed up one of his Grand Prix victories in the late seventies. The triple 500GP world champion knew the importance of momentum and psychology on a race track better than anyone, and knew that at times, riders need to take a win it or bin it mentality.

That mentality was at the front everyone's minds as they watched last weekend's Czech WorldSBK round, where the importance of coming out on top of an internal team battle bubbled under the surface. On Saturday Jonathan Rea claimed his 60th career victory, but on Sunday the tensions of four years at Kawasaki overflowed.

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2018 Brno WorldSBK Notes: Feuding Kawasakis, Parity At Yamaha, Potential From Aprilia

The return of WorldSBK to the Czech Republic proved to be a race weekend to remember. Tensions between Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes overflowed, Alex Lowes delivered on his long held promise and we saw flashes of promise from elsewhere on the WorldSBK grid.

Kawasaki tensions overflow

That Rea and Sykes don't like each other has been clear since the start of their tenure as teammates. The 2013 world champion had been the center of attention at KRT for years and Sykes had developed the ZX10R into the best package on the grid. It allowed him to win races and become a consistent force at the front of the field. Since Rea joined in 2015, however, his power has been eroded within the team and his potential on track has been limited. Their dislike for one another has been clear to see for years but on Sunday it boiled over.

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2018 Brno WorldSBK Preview: What To Expect At Brno

Round seven of the 2018 WorldSBK season will see the paddock head for Brno in the Czech Republic. The fast and flowing circuit is a firm favorite with MotoGP riders and fans and is sure to be well received by the Superbike riders when they return to action in the hills and valleys for the first time since 2011. That season saw Marco Melandri do the double for Yamaha but will that past form matter this weekend?

Yamaha seek to maintain momentum

Yamaha will certainly hope that their previous form, three Brno victories, is a good indicator that the Japanese firm can expect a strong showing this weekend. At Donington Park, Michael van der Mark delivered the first victories for Yamaha since their return to WorldSBK, and the Dutchman's confidence will be high this weekend. After claiming the first ever Dutch wins in WorldSBK history his stock is higher than ever, and it couldn't have come at a better time with contracts set to be signed for 2018.

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Donington WorldSBK - Hitting Your Mark

It was a case of double delight for Michael van der Mark at the UK Round of WorldSBK, and the Dutchman is only getting started

Last weekend's racing at Donington Park was exactly the shot in the arm that WorldSBK needed. A new rider on the top step of the podium, a new bike as the center of attention in Parc Ferme, and most importantly: Jonathan Rea being beaten in a straight up fight by Michael van der Mark.

Rea and Kawasaki have dominated the championship over the last three years and even for Yamaha's Van der Mark it was a surprise to finally break his duck in such style with a double.

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2018 Donington Park WorldSBK Notes: What We Saw At Donington

Round 6 of the 2018 Superbike World Championship saw Michael van der Mark make history and Toprak Razgatlıoglu claim a first career podium. It was the shot in the arm the series needed, and after great racing across all four classes there is a renewed optimism within the paddock.

Double Dutch

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A Lap Of Donington Park With Jonathan Rea

Last year's WorldSBK race winner, Jonathan Rea, guides us around a lap of Donington Park

Jonathan Rea was the man that ended Tom Sykes' winning streak at Donington Park. The reigning WorldSBK champion snapped a nine race streak for Sykes by winning Race 2 at the British round and he's excited ahead of his home round.

“Donington is a circuit of two halves,” said Rea. “Sectors 1 and 2 are very flowing, and the final sector is very stop and start. It's very difficult to find the right setup and you're always making a compromise. Sometimes I have had a setting that is great for the first half and other times I've set the bike up for the final sector. It really depends on what you need to do with the bike you have. You need to find a compromise between stability and agility but it's a very satisfying track to get right.

Last year's WorldSBK race winner, Jonathan Rea, guides us around a lap of Donington Park

Jonathan Rea was the man that ended Tom Sykes' winning streak at Donington Park. The reigning WorldSBK champion snapped a nine race streak for Sykes by winning Race 2 at the British round and he's excited ahead of his home round.

“Donington is a circuit of two halves,” said Rea. “Sectors 1 and 2 are very flowing, and the final sector is very stop and start. It's very difficult to find the right setup and you're always making a compromise. Sometimes I have had a setting that is great for the first half and other times I've set the bike up for the final sector. It really depends on what you need to do with the bike you have. You need to find a compromise between stability and agility but it's a very satisfying track to get right.

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Subscriber Feature: Long Live The King - A Look Back At Kenan Sofuoglu's Unmatched Supersport Reign

Kenan Sofuoglu bowed out of competition at Imola and afterwards he recounted his career to Steve English for MotoMatters.com

Five world championships, 43 WorldSSP victories and 85 podiums in the class are the records that Kenan Sofuoglu will leave on the World Supersport class, but the mark he leaves is indelible. The Turkish superstar retired from racing at the recent Imola WorldSBK round and afterwards said that it was a family decision to step away from racing.

“It was nice to have qualified on the front row but I asked myself why should I race? I felt that I was physically unwilling to do it but also if I had an incident with one of the title contenders and took them out of the race, that would have been very bad. I might have destroyed their season. I could say goodbye to everyone on the grid and this was the best thing to do. I also did not want to break the promise that I made to my family not to race,” reflected Sofuoglu.

Family has played a role in the 33 year old's career for many years and it also provided the most dramatic moments of his career. In a heartbreaking 2015 season the Turkish rider was flying to and from races while his newborn son was in intensive care. Ultimately Hamza would lose his battle, but the spirit and determination showed by Sofuoglu was nothing short of Herculean. To claim the title that season was incredible, and in the depths of a personal hell he was able to claim four consecutive victories.

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2018 WorldSBK Donington Preview: What To Expect At Donington Park

Round 6 of the 2018 WorldSBK championship sees the paddock head for the home of Superbikes; Donington Park. The British circuit hosted the first ever round of the championship in 1988 and since then the affinity for Superbike racing in the UK has only continued to grow. The spectacular, flowing track has been the canvas for some of the most incredible moments in the history of the class but will this weekend be remembered in the same light?

Contenders ready?

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2018 Imola WorldSBK Notes: One hand on the title already?

Following his double victory at Imola Jonathan Rea has laid the foundations for his fourth consecutive WorldSBK title.

Rea becomes the equal of Foggy

Jonathan Rea's 59th WorldSBK victory saw the Northern Irishman join Carl Fogarty as the most successful rider in WorldSBK history. But the triple champion was quick to point out that winning races is good but winning championships is better. Still trailing Foggy by one title, there is now a sense of inevitability that Rea will add to his championship haul. The previous two years had seen Chaz Davies do the double at Imola, but he had no answers for Rea over the weekend. They were the class of the field, but it was Rea who came out on top following a tough weekend for the Ducati rider. With a 47 point advantage the title race is now firmly in Rea's hands.

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A Lap Of Imola With Milwaukee Aprilia's Eugene Laverty

The Milwaukee Aprilia rider is back in action this weekend at Imola and he guides us around an action packed lap of the Italian venue

Imola is one of the most historic circuits in the world. Tamburello, Acque Minerali and Rivazza are corner names etched into the fiber of the sport, and with the circuit named after Enzo Ferrari's son, the emotion of Imola is always bubbling away just under the surface.

For a long time Eugene Laverty didn't feel at home at this twisting and technical circuit but over the last ten years he has been able to scratch at the surface and unlock the key to a fast time around this 4.936km circuit.

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Two-Day Private WorldSBK Test Concludes At Brno

A few days after a couple of entertaining races at Assen, a part of the WorldSBK paddock was back in action, this time at a private two-day test at the Brno circuit, which is set to return to the World Superbike calendar after an absence of five years. The weather was not entirely cooperative - a warm Wednesday was followed by a much cooler and overcast Thursday - but the teams present all managed to get important work done. 

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2018 Assen WorldSBK Recap: It's All Double Dutch In WorldSBK

Making predictions for races in WorldSBK 2018 can be a fool's errand. The form book has been thrown out the window on a couple of occasions and that was certainly the case once again at the Assen TT Circuit.

The Magic is still there

Michael van der Mark may no longer go by the moniker of Magic Michael but there was definitely magic in the air at Assen. The Dutch star claimed a double podium at his home round and showed once again that he is a force to be reckoned with. Pressuring Jonathan Rea and beating Chaz Davies in a straight up fight in Race 1 was impressive, but his Race 2 performance shouldn't be underestimated. The pressure was on the 25 year old. A bumper crowd of over 62,000 turned up to cheer him on and VDM didn't disappoint.

His third place finish on Sunday was another example of being able to keep a cool head. Tom Sykes was clear from the field and for Van der Mark the goal became to stand on the rostrum. That meant beating the Ducatis of Xavi Fores and Chaz Davies. The Yamaha rider duly delivered and moved into fourth in the championship standings. Mission accomplished.

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A Lap Of Assen With Alex Lowes

Assen is a circuit unlike any other. The rich history of the Assen TT Circuit goes back almost 100 years and with over 50 WorldSBK to its name only Phillip Island has seen more Superbike track action although arguably no circuit has seen more exciting action than Assen.

Whether it's Carl Fogarty or Jonathan Rea, the heroes of WorldSBK love Assen to a rider. It's fast and flowing and is a circuit that can be ridden any number of ways. There is no ideal way to lap the 4.542km circuit but there are some secrets to unlocking the speed. Pata Yamaha's Alex Lowes sat down with MotoMatters.com to offer his insight.

“You come across the start finish straight in fifth gear and as you approach Turn 1 it's tighter than you'd think,” explained Lowes. “The apex is slightly blind because the track drops away ever so slightly so you aim for a point and with experience you learn that it's that little bit tighter than expected. You're in second gear through the first corner so you'll short shift into third for Turn 2, but this is a section where the bike is always sliding and if you're not careful at the start of the race to manage this you'll pay for it at the end of the race with tire degradation.

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