Jonathan Rea has won his third World Superbike race of the season after a commanding performance in the first race at Brno.
A remarkable turnaround for both Rea and the Ten Kate Honda team two weeks on from a desperately disappointing weekend at Misano, Rea snatched the lead of the race on the opening lap and never looked back, crossing the line almost three seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
While Max Biaggi
got the best start from the front row of the grid to lead the way around the opening lap, Rea didn't take long to stamp his mark on proceedings as he audaciously swept around the outside of the Italian on the exit of the final bend.
Nosing into the lead of a race for the first time since Kyalami, Rea put the hammer down to establish a gap between himself and the Italian, whose indifferent pace suggested he was not capable of forming the expected victory challenge.
Indeed, far from him being the rider to beat – as his rivals had predicted – Biaggi was overtaken first by Cal Crutchlow on lap two before Ruben Xaus
battled his way past into third on lap four, albeit not before a bit of side-by-side racing down the home straight.
Crutchlow gave chase in second position, setting the fastest lap in the process, but while he inched closer to his rival initially, he couldn't live with Rea's consistently quick pace.
Indeed, during the latter stages of the race, only Biaggi could match the leader's lap times as he stalked his way back into contention having seemingly found his form on the RSV-4.
Passing Xaus for third on lap six, Biaggi steadily reeled in Crutchlow, who in turn was beginning to struggle with grip as the laps wound down. Catching him with six laps remaining, Biaggi made his move with four left to go and while Crutchlow rebuffed his first attempt with a quick retort, Biaggi calmly passed again on the final bend.
It was far too late for him to do anything about Rea though, who returns to the winners' circle for the first time since his double at Assen back in April and goes a long way to dismissing a recent run of poor form. The result also moves him back up to third in the standings, ahead of Carlos Checa.
While it wasn't the win many had expected, Biaggi's pass on Crutchlow for second sees him add a further twelve points onto his championship lead after Leon Haslam could only recover to a lonely eighth from 14th on the grid.