Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) is the new old World Championship leader after briefly relinquishing the lead to Toprak in Donington and then hitting back with a triple victory in the “Cathedral of Speed” from Assen, while the Turk lost important points in the Netherlands (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Preview of the Czech WorldSBK premiere in Most

After there was no continuation of the last edition from 2018 in Brno, the Czech Republic flew out of the WSBK calendar again for some time. Now there is a new edition, but for the next five years the near-series world championship will be held near the German border in the north-west of Prague. There is a rather limited supply of accommodation there, and the ticket prices can be described as steep. If you have to pay about as much standing room for the simplest category for a WorldSBK weekend as in MotoGP, then many fans lack any understanding of this. Especially when the prices are more than twice as high as, for example, two years ago in Jerez de la Frontera and almost twice as high as Assen in the same season. The few hotels nearby have been fully booked for some time. Because a World Championship run in Oschersleben did not become a reality, it is hardly surprising and many fans from Germany will probably be arriving.

The Autodrom of Most (in German: Brüx) from a bird’s eye view – the most winding route in the calendar, received a 5-year contract from Dorna. Even before the first race, however, it is criticized by some riders such as Scott Redding, who test-ridden a Ducati production bike and then classified the course as not worthy of the World Championship.

The stark contrast between Most and the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg
Because the replacement race for the Finnish GP will take place in Styria on the same weekend as the WSBK round, the races of the near-series World Championship can hardly be seen live anywhere. It is a shame, above all, that Spielberg is considered a very boring track and only has 9 real corners. In order to get to the number 10 at all, the slight left bend before the highly dangerous Turn 3 was named turn two, although even in MotoGP we started at full throttle. Here the terrible crash happened a year ago, in which Johann Zarco and Frankie Morbidelli crashed violently after the Italian hit the rear tire of the Frenchman’s Ducati with his front wheel. The parts of their bikes missed the heads of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, the ones from Turn 3 only came a few centimetres. It was precisely on this track, which he did not like very much, that Cal Crutchlow began to act as a substitute for the still convalescent Morbido for the next three races. A historic number is likely to be reached in Most, because Jonathan Rea is only missing one podium to reach the incredible number of 200.

Alex Lowes in Aragon on the pursuit of his Kawasaki Racing team-mate Johnny Rea – the Englishman, currently fourth in the World Championship, can approach the next races with confidence, because his future is also secured for the next season (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Confirmed on July 27th: Alex Lowes will also ride for Kawasaki in 2022

The man from Lincoln and the Spanish-Japanese Kawasaki Racing Team, based in Granollers, agreed to extend his contract for another year. This consistency should also suit his team-mate Jonathan Rea, who gets on well with Alex Lowes as well as with his predecessor Leon Haslam. Only with Tom Sykes had there been problems, as was shown in Brno shortly before his departure from the Greens in June 2018. At that time, the record world champion accused his team-mate at the time, not entirely unjustly, of having driven him into a fall in the lower part of the route. Two years later, it was also the man from Huddersfield who rudely steered the Kawasaki driver off the track on the first lap of the first race of the season. In the subsequent race to catch up, he fell while overtaking, and the friendship between the two has not only been a long time ago.

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) photographed by us in Misano 2019 before the WorldSSP 600 paddock interview – the fast Frenchman was the unlucky person of the weekend in Assen when he broke the scaphoid bone in his crash, which should put him in checkmate for some time. Eugene Laverty will also be missing in Most, but the reason for the Northern Irish is his team, which looked very amateurish and dubious from the start. We had already pointed this out before the start of the season after their absence in Barcelona, and unfortunately the current events show us that we are absolutely right.

The Kawasaki factory team for the 8 Hours of Suzuka stands
Instead of Sykes, the reigning champion of the prestigious race in Japan gets on all the better with Alex Lowes. Together with Lucas Mahias, the two will fight for victory in the 8-hour race in Suzuka on November 7, 2021. Due to the contract extension with Lowes, there should be another edition in the coming year, in which the two former competitors will compete together in Japan. With three wins and a second place, Alex is one of the most successful drivers in this long-distance race, which is very important for manufacturers from this country. The last three editions, Lowes was on a Yamaha with Michael van der Mark and Katsuyuki Nakasuga. In the first win, Alex and the Japanese MotoGP rider Pol Espargaró were teammates.

Toprak Razgatlioglu in Suzuka 2019 with matching headwear in the Kawasaki box – at that time he was a team-mate of Rea and Haslam, but was not used in the race and signed with Pata Yamaha, disappointed. He is currently considered the reigning world champion’s strongest challenger, but Scott Redding was able to significantly reduce his deficit to the Turks in Assen as third in the World Cup (© FIM EWC).

The racetrack of Most

The route sketch of Most, a course that is roughly the opposite of the Red Bull Ring and extremely demanding with 21 corners. It is also questionable whether the asphalt is suitable for the World Championship, which some voices had already questioned in advance.
WorldSBK preparation for the launch photographed by us on June 9, 2018 in Brno from the roof of the main building. In row one were the then Kawasaki team-mates Tom Sykes (right) and Jonathan Rea, who won the first race on Saturday.

The current World Championship status in the WorldSBK

With 8 wins in 15 races, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) is the clear world championship leader and the man to beat.

The current World Championship status in the WSSP 600

Timetable of the Czech World Championship round from Most

Dorna’s insight into this came very late, but at least those responsible for SBK understood it on August 3rd and announced that the WSSP 300 would start first at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. In order to avoid a collision with MotoGP in Spielberg for at least Sunday, WorldSBK starts at 3:15 p.m. local time. After all, the second run is left on Sunday afternoon to show it live on TV. Otherwise, however, as expected, the MotoGP has priority in their broadcasts on practically all broadcasters. Because Dorna communicated this so late and 3 days before the start, we did not correct it in the following schedule.

As the culmination of the bad planning by FIM and Dorna, the first race of the WorldSBK overlaps with the qualifying of the MotoGP in Spielberg and the Superpole Race on Sunday morning will take place at the same time as the Moto3 Grand Prix of Styria. There are also scheduling conflicts for the WorldSSP 600, which is the main reason that almost nothing is broadcast live on TV. An absolute disgrace for the sport and a slap in the face for fans, drivers, teams and sponsors of the near-series World Championship!