Superbike World Championship Round 4 - Race 1:
In the opening 21-lap Superbike World Championship race of the Assen weekend Jonathan Rea scored the win and his KRT team-mate Tom Sykes took second place, results which put them 1-2 at the head of the championship rankings.
In cool but dry and bright conditions Sykes from the front row and Rea from the second row both made clean starts, with fellow-championship challenger Chaz Davies doing most of the early front-running. Rea set a new lap record, over a second faster then the previous one, on lap three, with a 1’34.880 as he caught up to Davies.
Jonathan Rea - World Superbike Championship Round 4 - Assen
The race was evidently going to be contested by three riders, as Davies and Rea headed up Sykes, who moved closer and further behind in his third position, only losing contact for the possible win in the latter stages.
Rea had passed Davies, only to be re-passed, close to the end, but on the approach to the last two laps Jonathan’s burst to the front would be a final one, as Davies was forced to slow and then stop at the trackside. Tom therefore took second place, with Marco Melandri taking over third spot in a dramatic final act to what had already been a dramatic day for the KRT squad in some regards.
< br>In Superpole 2, held shortly before race one, Rea set a new track best for the Superbike class with a 1’33.505. Jonathan was demoted to fourth place on the grid after it was judged he had impeded the progress of a rival while he had been setting a fast lap. Jonathan remained on pole statistically but Tom took over pole position on the grid, with Jonathan finally starting from fourth spot in a race he would ultimately go on to win.
This 1-2 for the Ninja ZX-10RR ensures that Kawasaki still leads the manufacturers’ Championship, this time by 33 points after seven races.
Rea, in taking his sixth race win of 2017 secured his tenth win at Assen across his career, five of them on Kawasaki machinery.
In the championship, before race two at Assen, Jonathan has 170 points and Tom is second overall with 111. Race two takes place on Sunday 30th April, with the 21-lap race scheduled for a 1pm start again.
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “That one was really nice because the more wins you get on a certain track the more pressure you feel to repeat it. I am not sure why I click so well with Assen but it seems to be working. It seems like our bike was working very well in the faster sections of the track, and Chaz was fast out of T5 in acceleration. I could maintain the lap time as we were to-ing and fro-ing at certain parts of the track, but I was strong in the back section, where it counts for passes. I had good pace at the end and I wanted to go through then and make a gap. But every time I put my nose in front there was a big block pass into the last corner. It was, honestly, very unfortunate for Chaz at the end and it is never a good way to lose points. But it was important for me that that bad luck happened to him when he was behind me because at that point of the race I was trying to make my rhyt hm and go away.”
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “Obviously I did not feel 100% fit but that is no excuse. On the bike we just had some limitations for the set-up in this race. I think that tomorrow we can make a change in set-up and be stronger. Realistically we need to close in by about three seconds and I feel this is possible, taking all things into consideration. I was struggling at the end today not because the tyres had given their best or anything like that but, it was just that in two fast areas of the track I was struggling with feedback. In the beginning of the race I dropped back but I could keep up a good pace and got back up with the leaders again. Whatever I did, I just lost it again in the faster section of the track. That was just about confidence, so I feel we can improve.”
Superbike World Championship Round 4 - Race 2:
A 1-2 finish from KRT Riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes in the second Superbike World Championship race of the Assen weekend provided great drama in the final chicane, with Sykes closing in to within 0.025 seconds of victory but Rea holding on to secure another double Dutch success.
The classic TT Circuit at Assen provided an ideal backdrop for Rea to start the 200thWorldSBK race of his career and he duly took away his seventh race victory of 2017, his 11that Assen since he started his WorldSBK career and his third double at this 4.542km circuit since he joined Kawasaki in 2015.
It was an important day of statistics for Rea, as he also secured his 45thcareer win in WorldSBK and his 30thindividual race win for Kawasaki.
Tom Sykes and his crew worked to improve his machine set-up overnight and he almost took his first race win of the year as a reward, only losing out on a last chicane attack on Rea by 0.025 seconds across the line after 21 intense laps.
Battling the high winds today like all his peers, Tom duly overcame his continuing physical issues to record two second places at Assen this weekend, making it six podiums from the eight races held so far this season.
In the championship Rea now leads by 64 points, from his team-mate Sykes, with Chaz Davies third on 111 points and second race faller Marco Melandri on 97.
The next races in the series will take place on Saturday 13thand Sunday 14thof May, at the Imola circuit in Italy.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been an incredible weekend of racing. I have been especially happy with Superpole yesterday because the lap I made then was maybe the best lap I have ever made on a bike. I am really proud of that. Of course the race wins were really nice to take away. Today was a race of two halves. In the first half I raced hard until I got a warning so in the second half I just managed things to try and be safe and bring her home. I had a little bit left at the end but the biggest problem was the wind today. I was pulling a gap but then I had a huge front slide in T11, and my foot came off the peg, at mid-race distance. I decided just to ride and save something for the last laps after that. I had a big wobble coming out of 11 again near the end and I then just tried to be clever in the last lap and cover the last corner. My line was probably not the fastest way around there but it covered any move up the inside and I made it to the line first.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “It was a very close finish and I have to say thanks to the public, my fans and all the team for being very understanding about my physical condition. Yesterday we had an acceptable race but today we never stopped pushing to find an ideal set-up, right up until 30 minutes before the race started. Marcel and I were still talking about how to get the bike easier for me to ride. Physically, I was obviously not fully comfortable with the bike set-up from yesterday but today I felt we had a package capable of winning. I just did not have the bike in the right place at the right time and did not get the win for that reason. I always kept trying and I am obviously disappointed not to take the win. But considering where I was even at the start of the race week, if anybody had have offered me two second places from Assen I would have thought it was never going to happen.”
2017 KRT Rider Statistics:
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015 and 2016
2017: Races 8, Wins 7, Podiums 8, Superpoles 3
Career Race Wins: 45 (30 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 96 (54 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 11 (7 For Kawasaki)
Tom Sykes: World Champion 2013
2017: Races: 8, Wins 0, Podiums 6, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 31 (31 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 90 (89 For Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 38 (38 For Kawasaki)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
4 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Sykes 2013, Rea 2015 & 2016), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
2 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016)
2 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015 & 2016)
Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 98 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 321 – third overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 66 – second overall
2017 Superbike World Championship Points after Round 4:
JONATHAN REA 195 KAWASAKI
TOM SYKES 131 KAWASAKI
CHAZ DAVIES 111 DUCATI
MARCO MELANDR I97 DUCATI
ALEX LOWES 76 YAMAHA
MICHAEL VAN DER MARK 62 YAMAHA
XAVI FORÉS 60 DUCATI
JORDI TORRES 57 BMW
LEON CAMIER 54 MV AGUSTA
EUGENE LAVERTY 46 APRILIA
NICKY HAYDEN 36 HONDA
STEFAN BRADL 35 HONDA
ROMÁN RAMOS 32 KAWASAKI
LEANDRO MERCADO 28 APRILIA
LORENZO SAVADORI 21 APRILIA
RANDY KRUMMENACHER 21 KAWASAKI
MARKUS REITERBERGER 19 BMW
ALEX DE ANGELIS 18 KAWASAKI
RICCARDO RUSSO 4 YAMAHA
JOSHUA BROOKES 4 YAMAHA
JULIAN SIMON 4 APRILIA
RAFFAELE DE ROSA 3 BMW
ONDREJ JEZEK 3 KAWASAKI
AYRTON BADOVINI 3