BMW’s Marco Melandri has taken the first World Superbike race win at Brno this morning, stealing top spot from Tom Sykes with only two laps to go as the Huddersfield man tangled with Jonathan Rea and the Honda man suffered a huge highside.
Melandri had come from mid-pack to challenge for the lead, diving underneath Sykes on the brakes and when Rea tried to put his Honda past the Kawasaki, the pair collided with Rea crashing heavily. Melandri closes the gap on Max Baggi in the points table as the Roman Emperor could only muster sixth from his fourth-row starting position.
The track was wet with dry patches when the lights went out, riders choosing a variety of lines in order to try and find grip. Sykes took an early lead but it the was the Effenbert Ducati of Maxime Berger, who was out on cut slicks, who took the lead on lap three and put a gap on the pack.
Sykes and young team-mate Loris Baz chased after the Frenchman with Rea and Checa in tow while Melandri and his stable-mate Leon Haslam were a couple of tenths further back. The circuit was drying at a fairly rapid rate of knots and it was on lap seven when Sykes went back into the lead.
Rea gave chase and bagged top spot with six laps to go by Sykes used the superior horsepower of the ZX-10R to go straight back in front. Melandri, meanwhile, worked his way through the pack passing Baz for fourth with five laps to and then Rea two laps later when the Irishman ran wide and allowed Checa to also pass.
Melandri passed Sykes with two to go and when Rea crashed, Checa had to take evasive action which allowed Baz to pinch third and take his debut WSBK podium. Eugene Laverty finished in fifth and ahead of Biaggi while Haslam was seventh, going past Michel Fabrizio on the last lap.
Berger slipped back to ninth with team-mate Jakub Smrz in tenth. Chaz Davies was 11th with Leon Camier in 14th.