Jonathan Rea took the chequered flag in both exciting and often tense races at Assen in the Netherlands over the weekend. Superpole winner Tom Sykes (KRT) was in the front group in each race but dropped back to finish fifth each time. Jonathan Rea
With cool temperatures on the track in each race, Sykes and Rea ran with the front group in both 21-lap races. Rea was the start-to-finish leader in race one and Sykes was ahead of the pack for 12 laps of race two, until Rea moved forward to lead and then take his second win.
Rea had to turn up the pace in the final laps of each race to keep ahead of eventual second place rider Chaz Davies, setting a new lap record of 1’35.889 on lap 20 of the first race to make sure of his opening win.
“I feel awesome to win two races here. Today has been amazing and like in Thailand I need to sit down and savour this moment. There was a lot of pressure on me coming here, everyone talking about how Assen was my circuit, so I am just happy to deliver. We chose a different rear tyre in race two and it worked out well”.
“Race two was slightly different because I knew Tom would be fast in the beginning. The race was a bit faster at the start and slower at the end because of that. When Chaz put a pass on me and I saw Tom slowing I knew that it could end up to be a messy fight so I wanted to get straight back into the lead and make it my race. This one is for all my mechanics who have been working tirelessly and all the people at KHI. Hopefully now we can go to Imola and do a similar job - but this one feels very special”, commented Rea.
Sykes had issues in keeping his strong early pace as the races unfolded, but his push right at the front in race two was impressive, keeping him clear of the battles going on behind for much of the race. He had to slow as the races wore on, but he is still fourth in the championship standings leaving the fourth round.
Tom Sykes said, “We had a better performance in qualifying at this round and at the beginning of the races I feel comfortable. I think that has shown in the last couple of rounds. We are definitely starting to make progress and we have had various changes in rear set-up this weekend with very similar outcomes. I definitely feel that I have a clearer understanding of where we are, and my crew chief feels the same. I know I can run with the guys but at the last third or half of the race we cannot stick with the guys in some aspects. We know what we need to do and I am confident in where we can improve. We will move on to the next race in Imola but before then we will pinpoint a few things.”
Both races provided thrills aplenty for the large Dutch crowd and the second race in particular was a classic of its type. There were multiple overtakes, dramatic passing manoeuvres and high speed battles through the sculpted curves of Assen’s final two sectors.
Thanks to his latest successes Rea is now 50 points ahead in the championship table after scoring his 49th and 50th podium places in WSB today. He has a total of 190 points; Leon Haslam has 140, Chaz Davies 123 and Sykes 88.
Superbike (1000cc) leader board after round 4:
A last corner decider went in the favour of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kasawaki Puccetti Racing) as the Turkish rider claimed back to back wins in the World Supersport (600cc) championship to extend his lead in this year’s series.
Jules Cluzel returned to the podium in 2ndand the final podium place was decided after another dual, this time between Kyle Smith and PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres). Smith, who led the opening two laps, eventually finished 3rd.
Supersport (600cc) leader board after round 4:
|3.||J. CLUZEL||MV AGUSTA||45|
|5.||L. ZANETTI||MV AGUSTA||41|
Razgatlioglu remained unstoppable in the Superstock class (600cc) over the weekend. The youngster eventually took his 3rdrace win of the year (4thof his career) by 0.680s ahead of Michael Rinaldi and Niki Tuuli who completed the podium. Razgatlioglu heads to Imola for the 4thround of the series (3rd round of the class), with a maximum 75 points, and sits 30 points clear of Michael Rinaldi in the overall standings.
Superstock (600cc) leaderboard after round 2:
Imola, on 10th May, is the venue for the next WSB races, a track both Kawasaki riders can count as a favourite from years gone by.