Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea eclipsed even the brightest former star in the WorldSBK paddock by setting an all-time WorldSBK record for race wins in a career – 60.
Fogarty was not there to see it, but nobody could miss how much Rea wanted to win the first Brno race of the weekend and get to 60, especially after he had to take three goes at clearing off ahead of all his peers, due to a red flag and then a false start due to broken starting lights. The race was finally started 40 minutes late and two laps short of its planned 18 laps.
Once again fellow KRT rider Tom Sykes was unable to hold Rea’s instant pace, and it would be Marco Melandri who would end up playing catch-up - and not succeeding - as Rea made a gap of 1.7 seconds in two laps.
“I was able to square off Tom at the exit of T1 and set the rhythm from there,” was how Rea described getting to the lead and he even said he could roll of the gas at times once he had established the gap.
Melandri was second by over five seconds, Sykes two seconds back from the Ducati.
Rea also put much of his first race win at Brno down to a test he and some others had had taken part in at Brno just after Assen.
Important, as none of the WorldSBK riders had ridden at Brno competitively since 2012, so all that track time over two days made a big difference as the FP1 session on Friday was wet, and the two afternoon sessions delivered different grip standards.
Rea said of his mind-blowing overtake of Fogarty’s 59 race wins, “I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity, riding a great bike and to be here every weekend. To win the 60th race in that fashion, being dominant, was really nice.
“I could ride to my pit board at some points, which was also nice. It was a huge team effort, especially after coming here to test after Assen and before Imola, because it was such a tight schedule. It made yesterday less stressful because the conditions were not good for anybody.
“We were not so worried, because we had done two full days at Brno where we had evaluated all set-ups. We put it together from there.”
Rea’s achievement is remarkable given that his win ratio went through the roof only after he joined Kawasaki, a mere three and half years ago. 15 race wins in 140 Honda race starts became 45 race wins in 91 Kawasaki race starts – a win ratio rising to nearly 50 per cent.
He is now a gigantic 81 points ahead of the deeply troubled Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati) in the current championship table, Davies also saw Sykes close in to within ten points of his with a podium finish on Saturday in Brno.
Rea has now openly stated he wants that fourth consecutive title, and at this rate, with exactly half the season gone, he will be collecting it sooner rather than later.