GRT Yamaha Looking to Bounce Back in Brno
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are looking fight back in Brno this weekend at Round 7 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship after a tricky weekend at Donington Park last time out. Reigning WorldSSP Champion, Lucas Mahias, is looking to return to the podium in style and get his title defence back on track after crossing the line in fifth in Donington and dropping to fourth overall in the standings, 12 points off the lead. Teammate Federico Caricasulo is determined to be back fighting for victory after his sixth-place finish in the UK that means he is now fifth in the standings, just 11 points behind his teammate. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola will continue the hard work that has seen him make steady progress in 2018 as he attempts to record his first WorldSSP points-scoring finish.
The Automotodrom Brno returns to the WorldSSP calendar in 2018 for the first time since 2012 but the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team conducted a positive two-day private test at the circuit after Assen which means they are confident they can bounce back from a tricky weekend at Donington Park.
Mahias crossed the line in fifth at Donington Park and has not stood on the podium since securing second in Thailand, with the 28-year-old French rider determined to fight back in Brno to keep his hopes of defending the WorldSSP title alive. He is keen to get back on track after working hard with his team on the issues they faced in the UK, at a circuit he really enjoyed riding at the recent test. Leading the title chase after Assen, his recent run of form means he is currently fourth overall in the championship standings with 90 points, trailing leader Sandro Cortese by 12 points.
His teammate Caricasulo secured a sixth-place finish in the UK just behind his teammate but was disappointed with how he struggled during the race after a promising weekend. Studying the data with his team in the interim, the 22-year-old Italian is now ready to battle back in Brno and is hopeful of being able to hit the ground running on Friday morning after the recent test at the circuit. Caricasulo is currently fifth in the championship standings with 79 points, having closed the gap on his teammate in fourth to just 11.
European Supersport Cup rider Coppola is excited to ride the Brno track, one of the few tracks he will arrive at in 2017 that he has had the chance to ride his R6 on before after the team's test at the circuit. It will be the first circuit the 19-year-old Italian has arrived at in 2018 with a good base setting and the fast and flowing nature of the track's layout should also suit his riding style, with Coppola confident he can fight for his first championship point this weekend.
The Automotodrom Brno welcomes back WorldSBK in 2018 after a six-year hiatus. The tradition of motorcycle racing in Brno dates back to 1930 on the so-called 'City Circuit'. The first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was held in 1965 when the 500cc class raced over thirteen laps of the original 13.94 km street circuit. The current circuit was first used for GP racing in 1987 and is popular with both fans and riders alike, with the new track built in a natural bowl which is banked in places to offer spectators an excellent view. Brno constantly changes in elevation as it sweeps across forested hillsides and its fast undulating corners test rider talent and engineering to the limit. The track itself is 5.403km long with 14 corners, eight right and six left-handed, with a number of short straights (maximum 637m) that have been known to provide spectacular overtaking opportunities and racing in the past.
Round 7 of the 2018 WorldSSP Championship kicks off for the GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team when they hit the track for the first time on Friday morning in Brno at 10:40 am local time (CEST) for FP1, with qualifying due to start at 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday's race at 11:30 am.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 90 points
"I am ready for the next race weekend! The test we did at Brno a few weeks ago was very positive and I really like this fast and flowing track. My only concern is that there are lots of elevation changes and hard acceleration points where we have been losing out in the last few races but we have remained positive and I have been working hard with my team on the chassis and I hope to return to the podium!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 5th - 79 points
"I am ready for Brno! We did a really positive test here after Assen and that was the first time I got to ride the circuit. I instantly liked it and it is very similar to Mugello, one of my favourite tracks, so I think I can be fast there. It will not be easy because it is a track that needs a lot of straight-line speed - especially in the uphill sections - which has not been out strength lately, but I have been working hard with my team to try and find a solution and I am looking forward to Brno!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team
"We tested at Brno which, because it is a new track to the calendar, and this could help us a lot this weekend. At the end of the test, we had found a really good setup and this will hopefully mean we can get a good start on Friday and continue the momentum over the weekend. I am feeling very motivated and focused, we have reached the halfway point of the WorldSSP season and I am feeling really good with the team who have helped me adapt to the class. It is not time to make a good result!"
GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager
"We are ready for the next round at Brno! We had a very important test here recently and we feel that this will allow us to get the weekend off to a good start. Honestly, the elevation changes and the high-speed nature of this track will be tricky as we have struggled a bit lately on tracks like these but the team have been working hard since Donington to allow us to come to Brno with a better package. Both Lucas and Federico were quick here in testing and like the track, so we will try our best to fight at the front as always. Alfonso also tested here, so he has a base setting for Friday morning for the first this season. He has been making great progress in adapting to the R6 and the WorldSSP class and we are confident he will make another step in Brno!"