WorldSBK: Assen Sunday roundup – World Superbike and World Supersport
KRT rider Jonathan Rea took another incredible win in the Netherlands in Race 2 as a half-wet half-dry race saw tyre decisions play the key role. Joined on the podium by teammate Tom Sykes and local hero Michael van der Mark, Race 2 was characterized by nervous glances at the sky as the riders dealt their cards.
Sunday morning initially brought better weather to the TT Circuit Assen, with the sun breaking through the clouds to give the Dutch track a crisp, clear morning. With a lower breeze after the wind caused issues on Saturday, the race looked set to be in dry conditions, before a deluge interrupted World Supersport and saw a Wet Race declared for WorldSBK.
With Sylvain Guintoli getting bogged down off the line, the two Kawasakis of Sykes and Rea took to the lead, with Chaz Davies’ Ducati and Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden’s Hondas in hot pursuit. As the conditions caused quick position changes, it was Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes who emerged in the lead, with the damp conditions suiting the reigning BSB Champion.
Saturday podium finisher Nicky Hayden, reigning Champion Jonathan Rea and local hero Michael van der Mark were the challengers, before Rea and Sykes were the first of the frontrunners to dive into the pits for dry tyres as track conditions improved, followed by Van der Mark on the next lap.
As the pack started to shuffle after the tyre changes, Pedercini rider Lucas Mahias found himself at the head of the race, with KRT pairing Rea and Sykes hunting him down, followed by van der Mark. As dry tyres became necessary, reigning Champion Rea took control of the race once again to take another win in WorldSBK and increase his Championship lead. Teammate Tom Sykes made a well-timed tyre change to come home in P2 and recover some earlier lost ground, and Dutch rider Michael van der Mark remembered Saturday’s standing ovation after a crash and kept the Honda on the track to take another home podium, keeping his WorldSBK rostrum record at 75% at his home circuit.
2015 STK1000 winner Lorenzo Savadori was another superstar decision maker as the IodaRacing rider took his Aprilia to P4 and his best ever result, followed home by Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who was the lead bike for the Borgo Panigale factory once again. Honda rider Nicky Hayden, who had been challenging for the lead in the dry, came home sixth after waiting a little too long to change to slicks, mindful of the grey skies ahead.
Alex Lowes made up ground once again to end the race in P7 on his Pata Yamaha, in front of Davide Giugliano on the second Aruba.it Ducati. Leon Camier, after giving MV Agusta their best result of P4 in Race 1, again brought home a good haul of points in P9.
Xavi Forés crossed the line to complete the top ten after an impressive showing at the start of the race, in front of front row starter Guintoli on the second Pata Yamaha YZF R1, with the points scorers completed by Roman Ramos, Lucas Mahias and the BMWs of Karel Abraham and Jordi Torres. Josh Brookes, after leading and impressing in the difficult conditions, sadly crashed out and was unable to complete the race on his Milwaukee BMW, but will be encouraged by his incredible early pace.
WorldSBK is back on track at the mythical Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola at the end of April, for the cards to be dealt and played once again.
WorldSBK Race 2
P1 – Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team
P2 – Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team +2.442
P3 – Michael van der Mark – Honda World Superbike Team +15.189
WorldSBK Championship after Race 2
P1 – Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team 181
P2 – Chaz Davies – Aruba.it Racing – Ducati 136
P3 – Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team 122
Kyle Smith has won the WorldSSP race at the TT Circuit Assen, with the podium completed by GRT rider Gino Rea and Puccetti reigning Champion Kenan Sofuoglu in incredibly difficult conditions.
With the clouds battling the sun for supremacy and the harsh wind of Saturday replaced by a cooler breeze, Sunday seemed to promise better weather would hopefully hold out for the WorldSSP grid as they lined up for another battle.
It was Sofuoglu who got the best start, with PJ Jacobsen slotting into P2 off the second row, leaving poleman Krummenacher in P4 chasing the Triumph of Luke Stapleford. Cluzel began his fight back and was inside the top ten before a sudden deluge hit the track and the red flag came out.
With conditions suddenly treacherous, Jacobsen lost the front before slowing for the red flag and was given the task of pushing his damaged Honda back to the pits to see if it would make the restart. With a quick restart procedure and riders lining up on the grid for that restart in the order in which they saw the red flag, Jacobsen did manage to begin from P1 on the repaired Honda.
With a run off for Cluzel and Jacobsen encountering some smaller issues, it was Puccetti pairing of Krummenacher and Sofuoglu carefully heading the race as GRT rider Gino Rea fought to keep up with the pair on his MV Agusta, with Jacobsen, led by Smith, trying to get back in the podium fight.
Krummenacher suffered a run off at the final chicane that saw him out of podium contention, before Jacobsen lost the Honda in the treacherous conditions. The last lap battle to decide the podium conditions saw Brits Rea and Smith fight off reigning Champion Sofuoglu, with Kyle Smith crossing the line 0.8 seconds clear of Gino Rea to take the victory. Sofuoglu, locking out the podium in P3, gains another small margin of points on teammate Krummenacher, who came home fourth. Assen lap record holder Cluzel will be wanting to forget about the weekend after crossing the line in P18, the second title rival not adding to his Championship tally at Assen.
P1 – Kyle Smith – CIA Landlord Insurance Honda
P2 – Gino Rea – GRT Racing Team +0.831
P3 – Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +2.424
WorldSSP Championship after Assen
P1 – Randy Krummenacher – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 71
P2 – Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 61
P3 – Kyle Smith – CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 41