Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) put in a dominant performance for Race 2 if the MOTUL Superbike World Championship at Assen, recording fastest lap after fastest lap to score his first win of the campaign, ending Jonathan Rea’s Assen winning streak in the process. Behind the KRT riders, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) recorded his second successive podium in front of his home crowd.
Since Sylvain Guintoli in Race 1 of 2014, nobody had managed to question Rea’s authority at the Cathedral. That streak, eight successive wins here including Race 1 yesterday, was finally closed by Rea’s teammate, the only other rider on the grid who had previously won here (2013, Race 1).
Yesterday Sykes stressed how fast his bike could be, with his issues only coming whenever he needed to overtake his rivals, particularly the Ducatis. This wasn’t a problem here: Sykes started from pole, didn’t allow Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) to squeeze forward at the start, and then pushed hard until opening a 5-6 gap with his closest pursuers, consistently riding two to three tenths of a second faster than Rea and van der Mark.
“The Ninja ZX-10RR today was great on a clear track. I was disappointed with yesterday’s race, for a number a reasons. But what can I say about the win today? Big thanks to my family, friends and ultimately the crew. I have not had an easy time in the last 18 months or so, but the good thing is that Marcel is not just my crew chief, but also such an amazing friend. He has helped me and gently reminded me of where we have come from in the past, and how we got to where we are now. I knew that the results have not justified the efforts we have put in until now. I also knew last night that a little bit of magic and the Sykes’ spark was there. I think there is no doubt in my speed and today we converted that into all 21 laps. I am very, very happy for this and it was quite emotional to win today.”
The pair held an exciting duel yesterday for the win, and from the start they were paired together again: eighth and ninth on the grid, third and fourth after Lap 1, and competing for second for the latter two thirds of the race.
Eventually, Rea managed to open a gap with his Yamaha rival, completing the first KRT one-two since Laguna Seca/R2 2017. He now leads the championship by 30 points, and despite not beating Carl Fogarty’s historic 12 Assen wins, the reigning champion will be pleased to have opened a gap here in the Netherlands.
“My track position did not help in the beginning. I wasted a lot of tyre life and energy coming from ninth. When I had free track I could see that the gap remained constant. I also ran into some issues with vibration, backing in and the bike becoming a bit unstable. I managed my own race then and totally accepted that today was not going to be my day. Tom was stronger but my race was compromised by my ninth place start. You cannot give a guy like Tom pole position after his pace yesterday. Kudos to him and his team they did a great job, and I can take my points and march on to Imola pretty happy. I have a 30-point lead. It was target achieved at this round and I am feeling better with the bike each week.”
Van der Mark couldn’t fight for the win today, but pleased the home fans with a third place, his fifth Assen podium finish, and moves into fourth in the championship standings. The man he overtakes this weekend, Xavi Fores, came in just behind in fourth position, the first Ducati rider and, as in most races so far this season, the best independent rider.
Michael van der Mark
“I am really happy to have secured a double podium! Yesterday, I was quite close to Jonny fighting for victory and I was really happy with that. I was hoping today we could repeat it and, coming from eighth place on the grid, I had a good start and a good first lap. To be honest, I struggled a bit compared to yesterday. I think the temperature went up a bit and I was struggling a little with the front grip and my pace wasn’t as good as yesterday, so I was a bit worried. Jonny passed me and the best thing I could do was follow him, so I did that, felt good and thought we might have another nice battle but during the last few laps, we had a small issue with the bike which meant I couldn’t fight with him. Anyway, it has been an incredible weekend, we have been fast from the start. We have had amazing weather, amazing crowds, so I have really enjoyed my home race and I am really happy to go home with my two trophies. I am looking forward to Imola but first, we hope to have a good test in Brno. We have a few ideas to try with the bike there and then it is Imola. I think we have a good base setup with the bike and hopefully, Imola will confirm that. If we can find a bit of extra speed at Brno then we will be able to fight at the front again in front of Yamaha’s Italian fans.”
The Ducatis, in fact, struggled under the Assen heat, with both Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) encountering trouble at the start and moving back to 8th and 10th respectively. Eventually, Davies fought back to fifth, but will be frustrated at not being able to get closer to the podium.
“Looking at the positives, we didn’t give away too many points; but today the race was a bit of a struggle. We changed the bike and in the early stages we suffered with edge grip and turning on the exit, then we had a strange vibration on the rear. We still need to find out what caused it, but it forced us to go slower in the final laps and basically just bring it home. We struggled a bit here but we have a good base and we just need to react more quickly. Imola has been good in the past few years so I hope for better fortunes there.”
Melandri suffered more, however, falling back and never really escaping from the middle pack of five riders that closed the top-10 positions.
“I gave everything I had out there, fighting as if the win was on the line, but unfortunately we rode another difficult race and we fought once again against the same issue that has been penalizing us lately. Our potential is much higher, but I look ahead with positivity because both the team and Ducati are working really hard to improve. Next week’s test will be very important. I think the solution is within reach, and I hope to be able to fight for podiums and wins as soon as possible.”
He finished seventh, behind the MV Agusta of Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) – a best personal finish of the season – and only just ahead of Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW World Superbike Team) in eighth, his second successive top-ten finish. That group was closed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in ninth, followed by Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in tenth.
WorldSBK 2018 – Assen Race 2 Results
T. SYKES – GBR Kawasaki Racing Team
J. REA – GBR Kawasaki Racing Team 5.445
M. VAN DER MARK – NED Pata Yamaha 21 7.507
X. FORES – ESP Barni Racing Team 11.316
C. DAVIES – GBR Aruba.it Racing 18.953
J. TORRES – ESP MV Agusta Reparto Corse 22.414
M. MELANDRI – ITA Aruba.it Racing 22.515
L. BAZ – FRA GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team 21 23.997
T. RAZGATLIOGLU – TUR Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 24.245
L. SAVADORI – ITA Milwaukee Aprilia 24.653
D. GIUGLIANO – ITA Milwaukee Aprilia 41.807
M. RINALDI – ITA Aruba.it Racing 41.846
P. JACOBSEN – USA TripleM Honda World Superbike Team 21 47.516
A. LOWES – GBR Pata Yamaha 53.355
O. JEZEK – CZE Guandalini Racing 54.065
Y. HERNANDEZ – COL Team Pedercini Racing 57.758
WorldSBK Standings Following Assen
Jonathan Rea 159
Chaz Davies 129
Marco Melandri 115
Michael Van Der Mark 103
Tom Sykes 101
Xavi Fores 100
Alex Lowes 76
Toprak Razgatlioglu 45
Loris Baz 44
Leon Camier 42
Jordi Torres 39
Román Ramos 28
Lorenzo Savadori 25
Leandro Mercado 24
Michael Ruben Rinaldi 21
Jake Gagne 17
Eugene Laverty 16
Pj Jacobsen 15
Davide Giugliano 11
Yonny Hernandez 7
Ondrej Jezek 2
When the dust settled in the World Supersport, it was Jules Cluzel (NRT) who made it out on top. The Frenchman had spent a year and a half without a win in WorldSSP, and his season began with two disappointing races, but after a fantastic start here, where he moved from fourth to first inside the first lap, Cluzel never left the top of the field, battling off contender after contender.
However, the star of the field was inevitably Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). The Swiss rider’s Sunday started in shock, as a problem with his Yamaha forced him to go back to the pits before the warm-up lap, starting eventually from the back. But this just set the stage for a memorable performance. By the first lap he was up to 18th; halfway through he was 7th, hunting down the leading pack.
Then came the final laps: he went past Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) on lap 12, took out both Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamah Official WorldSSP Team) shortly after as the teammates came together, battled with poleman Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) to climb onto the podium and, finally, with a lap to go, made it past Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) into second. Cluzel proved to be one man too many to beat, but Krummenacher should be elated by a performance, perhaps the best of the championship so far.
Behind him, De Rosa put his MV Agusta onto the podium for the first time this season, after clashing with Cluzel all race. It’s the first non-Yamaha bike in the top three this year. He made it in just ahead of championship leader Mahias, who sees his lead reduced to just one point.
Cortese, starting from first, couldn’t come back from a poor dash off the lights, as he did at MotorLand Aragon, and finally came in fifth, after Stapleford, who just made it in ahead, was sanctioned for a previous clash with Caricasulo. The Italian will be extremely disappointed, as he leaves Assen with no points and drifting away from the championship lead.
Behind Cortese, it was finally Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in sixth, with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) in seventh and Thomas Gradinger (NRT) in eighth, all three separated by just half a second.
WorldSSP Standings following Assen
Lucas Mahias 71
Randy Krummenacher 70
Sandro Cortese 64
Jules Cluzel 50
Federico Caricasulo 49
Luke Stapleford 38
Raffaele De Rosa 35
Niki Tuuli 29
Kyle Smith 19
Thomas Gradinger 18
Anthony West 17
World Supersport 300
Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) grabbed his maiden FIM Supersport 300 World Championship win in only his second race in the category, after a notoriously chaotic last lap left three riders of the front group on the floor, including poleman Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), MotorLand Aragon winner Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) and 16-year-old Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan – Kawasaki).
“It was a great race, there was a lot of fighting and a very hard race. T come away with a win with the bike we have is very good, so thanks to the team for getting the bike ready for the race win.”
In trademark WorldSSP300 fashion, the top ten riders were barely separated by a second, with the overtaking maneuvers coming fast and furious. Most of the laps, however, were led by local rider Koen Meuffels, first leader of the championship and who had been at the top most of the weekend. However, he slipped just reaching the last chicane, surrendering his championship lead to Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki), who completed a second podium finish in third.
Ahead of Deroue, Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) repeated his second-place finish from last year. Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), third on the grid, fought back from a poor start to finish the race in fourth, recording the race’s fastest lap in the process. She was just ahead of Walid Khan (Nutec Benjan – Kawasaki), fifth and the third Dutch rider in the top 5.
Behind them, and completing the top ten, were Mykyta Kalinin (GP Project Team), Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Jan Ole Jähnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), Manuel Gonzalez (Pertamina Almeria BCD Junior Team by MS), and Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), these last three with their first top-10 finishes in WorldSSP300.
Aussie Tom Edwards made his way from P15 on the grid into the lead by the final lap, only to crash out.
“I came a long way from P15 to P5 on the first lap. Made my way into the lead in the final lap then crashed out. Glad to know I could find the pace after difficulties in practice and qualifying. Looking forward to making more steps forward at Imola, Italy!”
WorldSSP300 Standings following Assen
Scott Deroue 36
Luca Grunwald 32
Glenn Van Straalen 29
Koen Meuffels 25
Ana Carrasco 23
Mykyta Kalinin 23
Dorren Loureiro 17
Mika Perez 16
Walid Khan 16
Robert Schotman 11
World Superstock 1000
Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) grabbed his third consecutive European Superstock 1000 Championship win, second this season, with a dominant display at TT Circuit Assen. The German, starting from pole, controlled the race right from the start and gave his rivals no option, completing a fabulous weekend in which he was the fastest in practice, qualifying, and had the best in-race lap.
Behind him, Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team SA), whilst unable to match Reiterberger’s impressive pace, scored another second-place finish and remains just 10 points off the championship lead.
Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team), who rivalled Reiterberger at MotorLand Aragon before an untimely mechanical error at the end kicked him off the podium, returned to the top in third. Fourth, just behind him, was Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing), tying both men in the standings. Last year’s poleman Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team) came in fifth, again unable to find enough pace in his Yamaha to get close to the top.
The battle for sixth was thrilling, with five riders interchanging places all race, never more than a few tenths between them. In the end it was Luca Vitali (Aprilia Racing Team) in front of fellow Italians Gabriele Ruiu (Team Pedercini Racing), Alessandro Delbianco (GULF ALTHEA BMW Racing Team) and Riccardo Russo (C.M. Racing A.S.D.). Jan Buhn (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW) closed that frenetic group in tenth, while Danny de Boer (Yamaha Team MGM), fourth here last year, retired from the race.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.