Jonathan Rea does the Assen WorldSBK double
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 characterised 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.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“I just took my time at the beginning and just tried to stay in the group. I didn’t want to go too far in the front as I wanted to judge when the others were going into the pit. Then I took the decision to go in early and it was the perfect choice. We were so calm on the grid, so calm when the rain came and even the team asked me when we were making the pit stop, if I preferred the intermediate or the dry. So I said let’s go with the slicks and they put the slicks on. I just took my time then at the beginning, probably a bit too much, and then in the end I had a lot of time to play with. I was so, so happy to win a double here for my team. This gives us good momentum now for the next few races.”
Tom Sykes – P2
“I think it was unbelievable pace we had, but it was a shame. We have a great wet system here in the Shark helmet and the initial plan was intermediate, then about two seconds late I decided on the slick. I just wasn’t able to get my Yorkshire tones through the Shark helmet to Marcel (Duinker). It’s a slight shame, second position is not too bad, but sure the slick tyre cost us the race win. We had fantastic pace, the bike was working really well, I just wasn’t able to get the power of the ZX-10R to the ground with the cut slicks. Considering yesterday though it was a big improvement and we certainly can build on this for the future now.”
Michael van der Mark – P3
“This third place feels like a win for me, especially after yesterday’s result. The support from the crowd was really amazing; I’m quite sure there were a lot more people here today compared to the past two years. As soon as we started the warm up lap, I realised that, at some point, we would have to change tyres. We were ready for the pit-stop, as we are one of the few teams who always practice it at the end of every session. When Jonathan came past me I couldn’t stay with him, but I wanted to wait one more lap before going into the pits. I came in the following lap and it proved to be a good choice. I rode the rest of the race basically on my own, as the guys at the front were just too far ahead. I want to thank the team for the amazing job they have done, my sponsors and all my fans.”
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.
Chaz Davies – P5
“Unfortunately, we didn’t choose the best strategy. I thought the Kawasakis pitted in a bit too early, as the track was still slippery, but we waited too long. I’m disappointed, because another good result was within our reach. The positive thing is that, since the WUP, we were really competitive and made another step forward in the dry compared with yesterday. I’m looking forward to Imola, it’s our home race and I hope to make it a memorable one for all the ducatisti.”
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.
Nicky Hayden – P6
“I can’t say I’m happy with sixth as I felt I could have finished in a much higher position. I got another great start, I went from tenth to fourth just on the first lap and everything felt right. This was the first race for me in the wet in Superbike and with these tyres, so that put a smile on my face. Then, when the sun came out, the track started to dry really quickly. I was feeling really good and I guess that made me stay out on track for a bit too long before I pitted. Even when I got back on track I could not get up to speed immediately, as for the first time I was riding a bike with a wet setup on slick tyres. At some stage I found my rhythm and went past Lowes, but then the gap to Davies was simply too big. Again, it has been a new experience for me and now I’m looking forward to Imola.”
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.
Alex Lowes – P7
“It was a difficult race today because nobody quite knew what the weather was going to do or how the track was going to react to the changing conditions. I pushed the YZF-R1 as much as I could without risking our race and tried to manage the pit-stop window as best we could as a team. It’s a solid result with more important points, but it’s not where we want to be so we will keep on working to improve and develop as we have been and look forward positively to Imola.”
Davide Giugliano – P8
“It was a hectic race, during which it was easy to make mistakes. In the wet I eventually found a good pace, but the track dried up very quickly. We pitted in at the right moment, but unfortunately it took us four laps to regain confidence with the front. Still, I’m happy with the way the whole team reacted after all the difficulties we’ve encountered yesterday. In the WUP, we made a big step forward in terms of pace, an important signal ahead of Imola. Finally we’ll race ‘at home’ again!”
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.
Sylvain Guintoli – P11
“The conditions were really changeable for today’s race. I thought the track would dry a lot quicker than it did, because normally it dries really fast here, so I thought the intermediate would be good for the first lap, but it didn’t so I struggled. The plan was to have a good performance with the intermediates from the start and then swap to slicks, but unfortunately for the first five minutes of the race I lost a big, big amount of time and I could not get any heat in the rear tyres. This meant I had to change my strategy because we had lost so much time and I just couldn’t afford to pit. It was a struggle and unfortunately it was a gamble that just didn’t pay off.”
Jordi Torres – P15
“After trying a few things in warm-up, we decided to go backwards in terms of set-up for today’s race. The race was extremely complicated, as it wasn’t just raining but even hailing at one point. Anyway, we went out on rain tyres but I was slow because I didn’t want to risk crashing. My team told me when I should come in to change the tyres and after a good pit-stop I was back out on slicks. Unfortunately though, the bike behaved different from wet to dry and I wasn’t comfortable. I needed a few laps to get used to it but by then it was too late… Perhaps the only positive is that we didn’t crash or hurt ourselves, but now we’ll turn the page and focus on Imola.”
Markus Reiterberger – P16
“The second race was not easy. Before the race it had rained heavily, so I opted for a rain tyre at the front and an intermediate at the rear. I was too slow in the initial laps, before picking up in the central phase. I didn’t expect the track to dry so fast however, so others changed over to slicks and were then a lot faster than me. So it wasn’t the best for me, but I gained experience in these tricky conditions and hope to do a lot better next time.”
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.
“We’ve been making progress all weekend,” Brookes commented, “When the rain first came down I was a little bit put off because we’d been in P5 in morning Warm Up in dry conditions, so when the rain started I was thinking this could be not so easy. As it was the changes we made to the bike during the weekend in the dry also made it better in the wet conditions, so I felt like I could go faster and I was thinking I need to move forward. I started making passes and it felt very easy. I was confident with the bike and the tyres and it felt natural to ride at that speed. To lead the World Superbike race was a great feeling and I was really pleased.
“It was particularly satisfying because the first part of this year has been so tough for the team and for me. Changing to the World Superbike championship, changing to BMW motorcycles and then incorporating the BMW staff and electronics and all the things that come with WSBK it has actually been quite a big challenge.”
In a strange turn of events Josh Hook was stopped from joining the grid by officials prior to the race start, deeming his Grillini Kawasaki machine unsafe to ride due to some issue. Hook had managed to finish Saturday’s opening race just outside of the points but to say his season 2016 is off to a challenging start would be somewhat of an understatement.
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 2016 – Assen – Race Two Results
1 Jonathan Rea Kawasaki GBR 38’02.779
2 Tom Sykes Kawasaki GBR 00’02.442
3 Michael van der Mark Honda NLD 00’15.189
4 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia ITA 00’25.507
5 Chaz Davies Ducati GBR 00’30.853
6 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 00’36.458
7 Alex Lowes Yamaha GBR 00’39.263
8 Davide Giugliano Ducati ITA 00’46.789
9 Leon Camier MV Agusta GBR 01’05.023
10 Xavi Fores Ducati ESP 01’05.468
11 Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha FRA 01’24.948
12 Román Ramos Kawasaki ESP 01’35.035
13 Lucas Mahias Kawasaki FRA 1 lap
14 Karel Abraham BMW CZE 1 lap
15 Jordi Torres BMW ESP 1 lap
16 Markus Reiterberger BMW DEU 1 lap
17 Mattieu Lussiana BMW FRA 1 lap
18 Pawel Szkopek Yamaha POL 1 lap
19 Peter Sebestyen Yamaha HUN 1 lap
20 Dominic Schmitter Kawasaki CHE 1 lap
WorldSBK 2016 – Assen – Championship Standings
- Rea 181
- Davies 136
- Sykes 122
- Vd Mark 90
- Hayden 67
- Torres 65
- Giugliano 64
- Guintoli 58
- Savadori 51
- Lowes 44
- Reiterberger 40
- Camier 39
- Fores 37
- Ramos 36
- De Angelis 29
- Brookes 25
WorldSSP: Smith Takes Victory as Assen Gets Wet
Red flagged and restarted race sees British 1-2 beat Sofuoglu over the line
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.
“It was a bit of a tough one. I felt like I had the pace in the wet all weekend from Friday, but as soon as we started this race I thought I would have to settle for around fourth position because it was just so slippery. Gino (Rea) passed me and PJ (Jacobsen) passed me and I thought there is no way I can keep hold of these guys. Because the beginning of the season didn’t go too well I thought ‘I’ll just pick up some valuable points’. It seemed like I got some heat into the tyres for the last couple of laps and I started to feel really strong. I’ve managed to come up with the win and it’s good for the team seeing as the season has not gone so well. I’m happy to be up here.”
World Supersport 2016 – Assen- Race Results
1) Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda)
2) Gino Rea (GRT Racing Team)
3) Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
4) Randy Krummenacher (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing)
5) Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25)
6) Illia Mikhalchik (DS Junior Team)
7) Ayrton Badovini (Gemar Balloons – Team Lorini)
8) Axel Bassani (San Carlo Team Italia)
9) Ondrej Jezek (Team GoEleven)
10) Christian Gamarino (Team GoEleven)
World Supersport 2016 – Assen – Championship Standings
P1 – Randy Krummenacher – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 71
P2 – Kenan Sofuoglu – Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 61
P3 – Kyle Smith – CIA Landlord Insurance Honda 41
It was the top step of the podium for Italian Raffaele De Rosa (Althea BMW Racing Team) in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup race. The Neapolitan rider, after his third place finish at Aragón, rode an impeccable race, crossing the wire in first place ahead of Jeremy Guarnoni (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team), respectively second and third.
Raffaele De Rosa
“We were lucky today because after the two red flags the track was drying out and I knew we could be fast. We started with a full-slick configuration and it was clear I was quicker than I had been before, with the wet set-up. I was able to maintain a strong pace, keep focused, and I’m really pleased with the result. We needed this first win and I want to dedicate it to the team, to my family and to my personal trainer. We go to Imola with more confidence.”