Pata Yamaha’s Alex Lowes grabbed his maiden WorldSBK win in the second race at Brno this afternoon as the all-conquering Kawasaki team had a nightmare.
Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea collided early in the 18-lap encounter with the three-time champion coming off worse and crashing out before Sykes himself slipped off, losing the rear and skipping into the gravel before re-mounting for 16th place.
It is the first time Rea has failed to finish since Magny-Cours last year and his championship lead over Ducati’s Chaz Davies is back to 65 points as the Welshman followed Michael van der Mark on to the podium for third.
The early-race shocks kicked off with some of the top names finding themselves in deep trouble. Rea fell before the race had got into its full swing, on lap three, losing the rear and sliding off gently at turn 12, after what appeared to be contact between himself and Sykes, as they tussled for track position. Rea was unable to restart despite some frantic efforts.
Shortly afterwards Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) ran on into turn three and finally regained the track dead last.
Then it was Sykes turn to fall, as he lost his rear end in a lowside crash, restarting like Melandri, but sitting in 17th place, racing for that position with Melandri for a time.
Out front, the two Pata Yamaha machines of Lowes and Van der Mark led the race, with Davies working his way to third.
Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) was fourth, nearly ten seconds down, with his team-mate Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) fifth.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba Racing IT Ducati Junior Team) was sixth, one place up on Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).
Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team Ducati) placed eighth and the top Kawasaki rider was Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in ninth place. Román Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) scored tenth, with Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) 12th, just behind Loris Baz (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team).
PJ Jacobsen (TripleM Honda World Superbike Team) was 13th.
Melandri got a point for 15th, but Sykes was 16th and no-scored like his team-mate Rea.
In the championship, Rea has 270 points, Davies 205 – now 65 behind – VDM has 196 and Sykes 179.