The 4th race weekend of the World Superbike Championship did take place in the Netherlands, in Assen. And it was Kawasaki and Jonathan Rea who were unbeaten again.
To the Saturday’s race it was Jonathan Rea who did take pole position. But he got 3 places penalty so he had to start from the 4th place (so 2nd row). The penalty was for the incident between him and Chaz Davies during the Superpole.
So it was Tom Sykes who started from pole position. Chaz Davies was 2nd on the starting grid, Lorenzo Savadori 3rd. Savadori came back after he had to miss the previous round due to neck injury.
So as I already said Rea was in the 2nd row, Melandri and Laverty were next to him.
When the red lights turned off it was Davies who went into the lead. Rea and Sykes were chasing him.
Already at the early stages of the race the local hero Michael van der Mark crashed and it was over for him.
Later also Riccardo Russo retired from the race but in his case it was some technical problem with the bike.
Davies was still in the lead but Rea was really close behind him. Sykes wasn’t far away. But Marco Melandri racing on P4 had already more than 3 seconds gap to the 3 ahead of him.
Behind Melandri there was quite a big group fighting against each other. There were Forés, Laverty, Lowes, Savadori, Torres and Bradl. Leon Camier and Nicky Hayden tried to catch this group.
With 8 laps to go Alex Lowes crashed. It was a bad day for the Pata Yamaha team as VD Mark crashed earlier too. So 0 points for the team.
Rea was closing on Davies, he even tried to go to the lead but Davies defended his position. A few laps later Rea tried to overtake Davies again and in that time it was successful. So he was in the lead, Davies second, Sykes third.
Meanwhile, Jordi Torres did have some technical problems and had to retire from the race.
When they were heading to the last lap Davies’ Ducati suddenly stopped working! He had to retire from the race and Rea had quite a comfortable lead then.
Last lap was without any major drama and Jonathan Rea did take his 10th victory in Assen. Tom Sykes was 2nd so it was double for Kawasaki. Marco Melandri finished 3rd.
Great 4th place (and pole position for Sunday) went to Xavi Forés, Lorenzo Savadori was 5th, Stefan Bradl 6th, Roman Ramos 7th, Eugene Laverty 8th, Leandro Mercado 9th (but he originally finished 1 place better but got a penalty for cutting the turn) and Leon Camier completed top 10.
Randy Krummenacher, Alex de Angelis, Raffaele de Rosa, Nicky Hayden and Ayrton Badovini also took some points.
Here on the official site you can see the full race results.
Just let me go back to Raffaele de Rosa. Because I even didn’t mention that. The German Markus Reiterberger did still feel some problems after his injuries from last year. So already after the previous round in Aragon he decided to end this season and concentrate on the recovery. I really hope that everything goes well for him and one day he will be back in WSBK. Because he is missed there. So Raffaele de Rosa got the chance to race for the BMW team.
The starting grid for the Sunday’s race looked like that:
Row 1: Xavi Forés, Lorenzo Savadori, Stefan Bradl
Row 2: Roman Ramos, Eugene Laverty, Leandro Mercado
Row 3: Marco Melandri, Tom Sykes, Jonathan Rea
Row 4: Chaz Davies, Michael van der Mark, Jordi Torres
It was the 200th WorldSBK race start for Jonathan Rea. That’s pretty impressive number.
The poleman did a good start and kept the lead. Laverty made it up to 2nd place, Sykes was 3rd, Rea 4th, Savadori 5th. Later Eugene Laverty went into the lead.
Jonathan Rea was coming from behind but he overtook his rivals one by one and in the lap 3 he was already in the lead. Eugene Laverty tried to keep his pace but later he started to drop some positions as Sykes and Davies and later others overtook him as well.
Rea had quite a big gap to the rivals but his team mate Sykes was slowly catching him. Chaz Davies was 3rd but Michael van der Mark was close behind him.
Behind there was a couple of riders. In one moment it was really close between Forés and Melandri and a while later Marco Melandri did crash! Luckily he didn’t take Forés with him and luckily Forés didn’t run over Melandri as he was very close to him.
Later also Riccardo Russo crahsed. And later also Lorenzo Savadori crashed.
In the last few laps the gap between Rea and Sykes shortened to 0.2 seconds. But Sykes was still behind his team mate waiting for an opportunity. In the last lap it seemed he try to do something but he didn’t. He tried to attack Rea on the finish line but it wasn’t enough.
The difference between Rea and Sykes was just 0.025!
So Jonathan Rea took a victory when he did start to his 200th race. He also took double there. And he also won his 11th race in Assen. Only Carl Fogarty has more – 12.
It was another double for Kawasaki as Tom Sykes was 2nd. Chaz Davies finished 3rd.
The local boy Michael van der Mark was 4th, his team mate Alex Lowes finished 5th, Leon Camier did great P6. Jordi Torres was 7th, Eugene Laverty 8th and the Honda SBK boys Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl were 9th and 10th respectively.
Roman Ramos, Leandro Mercado, Xavi Forés, Randy Krummenacher and Alex de Angelis were on points too.
Quite an unlucky race for the Italians as Ayrton Badovini was the best one from them on P16 so no points. Three riders didn’t finish the race, all Italians.
You can see the results here.
So Jonathan Rea is the Championship leader with 195 points already. Tom Sykes is 2nd and Chaz Davies 3rd. Full standing is available here.
The Kawasaki Racing Team leads in the Team standing with 326 points. Aruba.it Racing – Ducati is 2nd with 208 points while Pata Yamaha has 138 points.
Kawasaki also leads the Manufacturers standing with 195 points. Ducati is 2nd, Yamaha 3rd.
The next race weekend is planned at Imola from 12th to 14th May.