The third round of the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship, which saw an overall attendance of 52,252 spectators, reached its climax today with the two races held in completely different weather conditions at the Assen TT circuit. After the victory in the first encounter for Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea came out on top in the rain-hampered, 10 lap Race 2 to secure his fifth WSBK win on his team’s home track. In the same race, Rea’s compatriot Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) scored his maiden podium finish in the series, a brilliant second place.
Rea lies now fourth in the standings, only19 points shy of current leader and reigning Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), with Guintoli and the other KRT rider Loris Baz second and third, respectively.
Michael van der Mark was Pata Honda’s other hero of the day, as the Dutchman won his career maiden World Supersport race in front of a vocal and enthusiast home crowd.
The next round of the season will take place at Imola in a fortnight’s time (May 9-11).
Jonathan Rea: “It’s been a really good weekend. To be honest, our dry pace was OK in race one but Sylvain (Guintoli) made such a fast start that I struggled to go with him. When Tom (Sykes) went past I made a big mistake but, after that, my pace until the end was quite similar to theirs. The win in race two was really special. For the last laps I just tried to be as smart as I could. This win’s for all those guys who have worked tirelessly to make the CBR as strong as possible. It’s great to be able to give them back some good vibes to roll with into the next part of the season.”
Alex Lowes: “It’s fantastic, it was a great race for me and it’s really good for the team for me to finally get on the podium! It was a wet race, so it’s never as nice as getting on the podium in the dry but I’m very happy and hopefully this can kick start our season after the injuries. It’s been a really difficult start to the year for me, and now I’ve got some good points on the board and a podium, I’m looking forward to hopefully improving both myself and the bike, and seeing if we can be a bit closer to the front in the dry!”
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) has taken victory in the first race of the day at a drying Assen circuit in the Netherlands. The 2013 WSBK runner up has climbed on the top step of the podium for the fifth time in his career, the second one this year after the win he scored at Phillip Island in Race 2.
The race was classified dry and as the lights went out it was Guintoli who took the hole-shot with Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) and the Kawasaki Racing Team duo of Loris Baz and Tom Sykes giving chase.
A red flag in the closing laps as Sykes was closing in on the leading Aprilia riders meant the result would stand with Rea finishing 3rd.
Baz took 4th with Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) eventually classified 5th and 6th respectively a great race long battle
Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) finished a superb 10th position to end the race as the highest EVO category rider.
Christian Iddon (Team Bimota Alstare), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Fabien Foret (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) all fell but should be able to take part in race two.
After a lengthy delay because of heavy rain and with conditions visibly better, compared to the situation that forced the Race Direction to red flag the initial race, the riders started a new Race 2 over a race distance of 10 laps. Eventually it was race one podium finisher Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) that emerged victorious ahead of Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati Racing Team) who completed the podium in tricky conditions.
Rea achieved the 12th WSBK race win of his career, the fifth one at the Assen TT Circuit, whilst Lowes scored his maiden podium finish in the series and Giugliano the first top 3 placement of his new adventure as factory Ducati rider.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike) and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) rounded out the top 6.
Sylvain Guintoli crashed at the chicane on lap 2 but was fortunate enough to be able to remount to salvage 9th at the flag, behind pole sitter Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), seventh, and Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), eighth.
In the EVO class, Niccolo Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) came home in 10th having the honour of being the first EVO classified rider in the race.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) has won his first World Supersport race after an enthralling early race fight with pole-sitter Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres).
The Dutch rider had the packed grandstands on their feet as lap by lap he edged away claiming victory by over 9 seconds with the added bonus of a new lap record.
Early leader and former champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Team India Kawasaki) regrouped after a mistake early in the race only to be forced into retirement with a technical problem on lap 13.
Sofuoglu’s departure resulted in a three rider dice for the final few laps with Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport), Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha) and Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) to sort out the final place on the podium.
At the flag Marino secured 2nd as Cluzel was classified 3rd ahead of Coghlan and Zanetti. Roberto Rolfo (Go Eleven Kawasaki) finished 6th.
Dutchman Kevin Valk (MTM Kawasaki) sailed to his first podium and first career FIM Stock 1000cc Cup victory at the same time after dominating today’s wet race at Assen.
Coming home almost ten seconds ahead of Ondrej Jezek (Barni Racing Team Ducati) and Matthieu Lussiana (Team Garnier by ASPI Kawasaki), who also relished the wet conditions, Valk has elevated himself to 3rd overall in the standings.
Kyle Smith (Agro-On Wil Racedays Honda) was running a strong second before crashing, and remounting only to fall again a lap later.
Results: 1. Valk (Kawasaki) 10 Laps/45.420 km in 20’06.810 average 135.491 kph; 2. Jezek (Ducati) 6.219; 3. Lussiana (Kawasaki) 7.074; 4. Savadori (Kawasaki) 7.782; 5. Mercado (Ducati) 10.894; 6. McFadden (Kawasaki) 10.967; 7. Lanusse (Kawasaki) 11.248; 8. Massei (Ducati) 39.049; 9. Nemeth (Kawasaki) 39.445; 10. Walraven (Suzuki) 45.521; 11. Day (Honda) 53.303; 12. Schacht (Ducati) 1’00.509; 13. Pagaud (Kawasaki) 1’08.401; 14. D’Annunzio (BMW) 1’12.689; 15. Ayer (Kawasaki) 1’13.076; etc.
Standings (Round 2 of 7): 1. Mercado 36; 2. Savadori 33; 3. Valk 32; 4. Lussiana 26; 5. Jezek 20; 6. McFadden 18; 7. Smith 16; 8. Lanusse 15; 9. Bergman 13; 10. D’Annunzio 13; 11. Day 10; 12. Grotzkyj G. 9; 13. Massei 8; 14. Nemeth 7; 15. Walraven 6; 16. Pagaud 6; 17. Schacht 5; 18. Castellarin 4; 19. Suchet 2; 20. Ayer 1. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 45; 2. Ducati 45; 3. Honda 21; 4. BMW 13; 5. Suzuki
European Junior Cup
The six lap race of the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda was held today under rainy conditions. Spaniard Augusto Fernandez (WIL Sport) managed to win his first race of the season, the second one in the series so far, edging out Sweden’s Jesper Hubner (Honda Sweden) and pole sitter Marc Miralles (Honda Spain), who is still the points leader after the second race of the season.
Results: 1. Fernandez 6 Laps/27.252 km in 13’41.659 average 119.401 kph; 2. Hubner 2.421; 3. Miralles 3.011; 4. Brink 3.115; 5. Soomer 3.340; 6. Grassia 27.777; 7. London 37.192; 8. Orellana 37.261; 9. Wisdom 37.620; 10. Van Sikkelerus 37.740; etc.
Standings (Round 2 of 8): 1. Miralles 41; 2. Fernandez 38; 3. Orellana 28; 4. Hubner 27; 5. Soomer 20; 6. Grassia 18; 7. Perez 16; 8. Licciardi 14; 9. London 14; 10. Brink 13; 11. Fernandez 11; 12. Harland 11; 13. Wisdom 10; 14. Van Sikkelerus 6; 15. Geissler 4; 16. Zhu 4; 17. Moreno 2; 18. Patterson 2; 19. Levy 1.
Aprilia Racing Report
Just one error in the first part of Race 2 deprived Aprilia rider Sylvain Guintoli of a sensational double win that seemed already to be within reach after winning the first race.
But the Dutch round brought the Aprilia team back into the limelight of the championship with the RSV4 proving to be worthy of its title as reigning Manufacturer World Champion.
In Race 1 the French rider started well to move out in front of the rest when the red lights went off and set an impossible pace for the rest of his rivals. Then in the second half of the race he defended his position in the lead with flying laps as Tom Sykes made a comeback.
Sylvain carried out his duties as forerunner magnificently on a partially damp track with slick tyres, a terrible situation which did not compromise the race. As demonstrated by the record breaking lap set by his Aprilia (1’36.440) in the third lap. The race was called 4 laps from the end when the red flag came out due to a blown engine.
Race 2 started off looking promising with Sylvain out front and clearly faster than all his rivals. The heavy rain forced the race marshals to suspend the race, restarting it later with distance shortened to 10 laps. On a treacherous track, and despite a less than perfect start, Sylvain managed to get front runner Rea in his sights within a few turns. On the last chicane the poor grip cause him to crash. In any case, able to get going again in 18th place, Guintoli resumed his pace and finished the race in ninth place after a spectacular comeback.
Sylvain Guintoli: “It’s a real shame about Race 2. Despite a less than perfect start I was making up ground without any difficulty. The slide in the second lap had nothing to do with any specific mistake. On a track that wet it simply doesn’t take much at all. In spite of the blow to my back and damage to the footpeg and handlebar, I lapped fast and that really makes me angry because it’s clear that I could have won Race 2 as well. In Race 1, on the other hand, I took some risks in the first few laps to try and increase the gap – a dangerous strategy but one that worked in the end. Before the race was called I was keeping an eye on Tom Sykes’ comeback, trying to manage my advantage. I have to thank the entire team and the guys here at Aprilia Racing because they did a great job today. Even with the low temperatures my RSV4 was really working well. It just goes to show that everyone’s efforts paid off.”
Marco Melandri had a little more difficulty, finishing sixth in both races. The rider from Ravenna showed grit and determination in Race 2 until a “long” run in a turn knocked him out of the battle for a podium finish.
Althea Racing Report
Canepa first in both the Evo races and the general standings after today’s action at Assen
The third round of the Superpole world championship took place today at the TT Van Drenthe track in Assen, The Netherlands. After a great performance by Niccolò Canepa in both qualifying and Superpole yesterday, the Althea Racing rider lined up on today’s grid in seventh place, first of the riders on row three. There were cloudy skies and a damp track, due to rain overnight, for race one, in which Canepa made a very good start, managing to get into a group of Superbike riders. At mid-race, Niccolò was lapping ninth, before being passed by Lowes, a Superbike rider. During the seventeenth lap, race direction waved the red flag due to oil on track (resulting from an engine fail for May – team Hero EBR). As more than two thirds of the race had run, the race result was taken from the classification at the end of the sixteenth lap. Canepa therefore closed in final tenth position and, at the end of a perfectly managed race, he took first place among the Evo riders. The start of the second race was delayed due to rain that came on during the sighting lap, and all riders returned to the garage to change to rain tyres. After a second sighting lap, the number of laps was reduced to 15 and the race could finally begin. But rain put a spanner in the works once again and at the end of lap three race leader Guintoli raised his hand to indicate the increasingly difficult conditions and race direction suspended the race with a red flag. After more than an hour’s wait in the garage, the riders went back out to start over once again, in what was now a ten-lap race.
Canepa, who had never ridden the 1199 Panigale in the wet before today, made a strong start and was able to finish a difficult race, characterised by many crashed on the slippery tarmac, in final tenth place. Tenth place once again meant that the Italian rider closed in first position in the Evo category and moves into first position in the Evo category’s general standings. A great result for Canepa and the entire Althea Racing team.
Niccolò Canepa: “I’m really pleased with how today went, a very difficult day of course but we were able to finish first among the Evo riders in both races, meaning that we move into first position in the classification. In race one I battled with Superbike riders, but we had already demonstrated that we could be fast in the dry during the practice sessions. The second race was really hard though, because I’d never ridden the bike in the wet before and I had to be very careful. I found a good rhythm, tried not to commit errors, and brought home another win in the Evo category. A huge thank-you to my technicians for all their hard work.”
Genesio Bevilacqua : “Two positive races. Niccolò finished first among the Evo riders in both races and has moved into the lead in the Evo standings. We are able to share and optimise our energies and finally our hard work is bearing fruit. We’ve reached a good level of competitiveness and here we have achieved that which we had just missed out on at Aragon. We’re building experience that we can use in the next races, so we look confidently ahead to the next rounds.”
Two podium finishes, including a wet race two win at Assen in the FIM Superbike World Championship have put Jonathan Rea fourth in the championship fight after three rounds.
At his team’s home track Rea was fast all weekend, qualifying in fifth place and taking third place in race one. The first race was held in basically dry conditions with damp patches in evidence around the circuit at the start. It was scheduled for 21 laps but had to be stopped early due to an oil leak from one of the competitor’s machines. The results were called after 16 laps with Rea 4.116 seconds behind race winner Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) and one place behind Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) on the podium.
In the second race Rea hit the front early and pushed hard to get away from some recognised rain experts immediately behind him. His tactic worked perfectly as he led every lap, winning the much-delayed final ten lap race by 2.2 seconds, ahead of Alex Lowes (Suzuki) and Davide Giugliano (Ducati).
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) scored eighth place in race one after a fight with the main warring pack but improved to fifth in race two, securing his best individual race finish of the year so far. Leon is now ninth in the championship, having scored points in all races except the season opener in Australia.
Race two was held in full wet conditions after a dry race had been initially declared. A sudden shower that developed into a deluge just before the re-start caused the wet tyres to be brought out but the first attempted running of the race lasted only three laps before worsening conditions caused the red flag to be waved to stop the race.
After two track inspections the rain eased enough to allow a ten-lap race to take place, with Rea running out a popular winner on a great day for Dutch race fans, after Michael van der Mark won the WSS race for Pata Honda.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) was unstoppable in the third round of the FIM Supersport World Championship at his home venue of Assen, winning by a massive 9.494 seconds and jumping up to second in the championship standings in the process.
The 21-year-old Dutch rider led from lap two to the 18th and final tour around the 4.542km circuit, cheered on by his enthusiastic home crowd. He took the new lap record in what was his second podium scoring ride of the 2014 championship, on lap seven with a time of 1’38.587s. He had qualified on the front row in third place and scored his fifth career podium at this race.
‘Mikey’ became the first Dutch WSS race winner since 2004 and the first rider in the Ten Kate-operated WSS effort to win a race since 2011.
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) felt confident of a good result and he duly scored fifth place in the race after starting from seventh place on the grid. He now occupies eighth place in the overall points standings. He improved on his qualifying performance by two positions in the race with his own home round coming up next, at Imola in Italy.
Another Italian rider, Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda) had a lonely race in eighth position, having started tenth on the grid. He found a good setup for the race with his team and used it to the full, but could not stay with the leading groups of riders and finished 21.3 seconds behind van der Mark.
Marco Bussolotti (Team Lorini Honda) had a fighting midfield ride to score points in 11th place, four seconds up on 13th placed Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda). Bussolotti’s team-mate Riccardo Russo (Team Lorini Honda) was the final Honda points scorer in 14th.
Nacho Calero (CIA Insurance Honda) experienced a technical issue in the morning but recovered to take 17th place, with British rider Fraser Rogers (Com Plus SMS Racing) 19th from the 21 finishers.
Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) fell while trying to defend sixth place, having been as high as third after qualifying in fifth place.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) – Race result: 3rd / 1st Championship position: 4th – “It is great to win our first race of the year but the worst part of race two was waiting in the garage for the delays. It was nice to be back on the podium in race one as well and that was our target this weekend. Congratulations to Sylvain because he set an incredible pace at the start and then I had a bit of a battle with the Kawasaki’s. It seems that when I get past them I drop a little bit and I am not sure why that is. I think I had the pace to be closer. The Pata Honda team and the whole Ten Kate family have had a great day – Mikey winning the WSS race and me to winning at my team’s home round. I want to say thanks to all the team and to the fans who stayed behind to watch race two in the wet conditions after a long delay.”
Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) – Race result: 8th / 5th Championship position: 9th – “Race one was a bit frustrating really because I felt we could have been easily fifth from where we were. The pace wasn’t that mega but we had a lot of issues again this weekend. It wasn’t right in race one but I think fifth was still possible. The flag put an early end to it anyway. I was confident that, for the dry, we’d made the right move for race two but it was wet. In the first part I was already up to fifth when they stopped it but, in part two, I got caught behind Chaz and it took me a few laps to get by him. When I passed him, everyone had gone, but I was able to be one of the fastest guys on track in the last three laps. I managed to get past Baz and Melandri and was closing the gap to Tom but then ran out of time. We hadn’t really done any wet testing, so it was positive that we weren’t too far away. The pace was pretty good but starting from where we were on the grid didn’t help either..”
Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) – Race result: 1st Championship position: 2nd – “I could not find a better place to take my first win than my home race. All weekend the team worked well and the bike worked great. My start was not really perfect but when I was with Florian and Kenan I could see that I was faster. So as soon as I passed them I kept pushing all race long because I did not want to make any mistakes. I am really thankful to the team, sponsors and friends and fans who came here. I am also thankful to the Clinica Mobile because last night I was really sick, but this morning they have helped me a lot this morning.”
Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) – Race result: 5th Championship position: 8th – “This was a positive weekend for all the team. First for Mickey’s win but also for me it was important because this was one of my ‘bad’ tracks, here and Portimao, and since I arrived here we worked with the team to search for and keep a good set-up. In the end I think that it was a good race but I just had from the start a problem on the front tyre, and I think without that problem it would have been possible to fight with Marino for the podium. In the end I am quite happy because I had a good pace and a good rhythm and I am confident for Imola next time.”
Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda) – Race result: 8th Championship position: 5th – “My bike and settings this weekend were better for the race and that helped me. I had to run many laps alone in the race and that made it difficult to move forward. In the mid race I had the same pace as Cluzel or Zanetti but I was alone behind them and could not catch them. I needed to do better in qualifying to finish higher up.”
Ratthapark Wilairot (Core PTR Honda) – Race result: 13th Championship position: 17th – “We did not have a good weekend because many times we had technical problems in the front and then we lost some time in the free practice and also in qualifying. We did not have a good session because we could only make two or three laps before the finish. We did not qualify well so we were near the back but I tried to make a good race and finish it. I am sure we will do better in Imola.
Jack Kennedy (CIA Insurance Honda) – Race result: DNF Championship position: 19th – “I am OK, no damage after my fall. I would say I was about 20mm off line. Coghlan came alongside me and I had to let the brake off a little bit to get in front of him and tip in, and the front went away. I was on the limit to try and stay with the front boys after I got a good start. It is a pity because good points is what I need at this stage as I have not been scoring many and that is not like me to not be consistent in scoring. We have to look at good finishes but look at good results as well. I think a little bit more speed would help in the straights because I am having to work hard in the corners to stay with them.”