BMW Motorrad’s Marco Melandri passed Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes two laps from the finish to win the first World Superbike race in mixed conditions at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic.
Melandri was patient for the first half of the race, held on a track littered with damp patches. Halfway into the 20-lap race he was down in eighth place and far from the leaders, which included Sykes, Honda World Superbike’s Johnny Rea, Kawasaki’s Loris Baz, and Althea Racing Ducati’s Carlos Checa.
Melandri began his march to the front on the 12th lap, as conditions continued to improve and the leaders tightened up.
By lap 14 he was in sixth place, but on the same second as the leader, setting up a battle royale over the final six laps.
On the 16th lap he was into fourth and third on lap 17. Then on lap 18 he closed on Sykes, making a pass on the penultimate lap.
Sykes ran off line later that lap, giving Rea an opening on the inside that would prove disastrous. As Sykes came back onto the racing line, he and Rea made contact, with the Honda rider high-siding out spectacularly.
That gave Melandri the breathing room he needed to speed to his fourth victory of the year.
The margin of victory was 1.360 secs.
Sykes finished second with teammate Loris Baz, riding the Kawasaki in place of the injured Joan Lascorz, earning his first WSB podium in only his fifth race.
Checa was half a second back in fifth and in front of Aprilia teammates Eugene Laverty and Max Biaggi, the former World Champions who was well behind Laverty and also lost ground to Melandri in the championship chase.
With 11 races remaining, Biaggi has 258.5 points to 225.5 for Melandri. Sykes is third at 192.5.
Leon Haslam put the second BMW in seventh just ahead of the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet’s Michel Fabrizio.
Maxime Berger (Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati) narrowly edged out local favorite Jakub Smrz (Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati) for tenth.
FIXI Crescent Suzuki’s John Hopkins scored the final point in 15th, one spot behind teammate Leon Camier.
Brno Race One World Superbike Results:
1. Marco Melandri (BMW)
2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
3. Loris Baz (Kawasaki)
4. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
6. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
7. Leon Haslam (BMW)
8. Michel Fabrizio (BMW)
9. Maxime Berger (Ducati)
10. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
15. John Hopkins (Suzuki)