Kawasaki Dominates At Assen

By April 22, 2018 December 13th, 2019 WorldSBK

Assen PR Strip

WorldSBK Race One: Rea roars to eighth consecutive TT Assen win

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) stormed to his third win of the season with a quintessential Assen performance, nailing his eighth consecutive Dutch win and twelfth in total, equalling Carl Fogarty’s historic dozen Assen triumphs along the way.

It didn’t come easy for the Northern Irishman, however, forced to fend off strong attacks from Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), second and third respectively.

The grid hinted towards a fascinating start, with five teams holding the first five positions. Rea made the move over poleman Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) at the first corner, although it was Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) who took the early lead with a flying start at the lights. However, by the end of sector one it was Rea back on top. Behind him, van der Mark began his climb right off the bat, jumping from seventh to fourth.

The crowd were ecstatic by the end of lap 8, as local boy van der Mark, astonishingly quick throughout the race, picked off Rea at the chicane and made his way into first. However, the championship leader took over two laps later, same spot, same move.

By then Chaz Davies had quietly made his way to the top, once again making up for a poor Superpole with a scintillating race. A three-way battle ensued, with Davies merely centimetres off Rea but unable to just quite make it past. With van der Mark and Davies then battling for second, Rea put some space between him and his pursuers for the final laps, although never more than a second.

Behind the front three, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) showed the Kawasaki’s pace after a poor weekend at MotorLand Aragon, coming in fourth and a mere two tenths off a first podium finish since Phillip Island’s race one.

Xavi Fores, again the first independent rider, made it through the chequered flag in fifth, drifting off the front pace through the final laps. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) made it to the line in sixth, untroubled but also unable to stay close to the lead.

Loriz Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) followed in seventh place, with Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) in eighth, season-best finishes for both riders. Top ten was closed by Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) in ninth and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in tenth.

Lowes, scoring his maiden WorldSBK pole just two hours earlier, had a nightmare race, falling quickly down the field after the early laps and just scraping in in twelfth, 33 seconds off the lead. Ditto for Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia), heading row 2 at the start but just making it to the line in fifteenth.

WorldSBK Race 1 Results: 1. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki  2. Michael van der Mark – Yamaha  3. Chaz Davies – Ducati

WorldSBK Race Two: Commanding Sykes storms to Assen race two win

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) put in the most dominant performance in the 2018 season of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship so far, recording fastest lap after fastest lap to score his first win of the campaign, ending Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)’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.

Not since Sylvain Guintoli in race one of 2014, has anyone managed to question Rea’s authority at the Cathedral.  That streak, eight successive Assen wins including race one Saturday, 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 second gap with his closest pursuers, consistently riding two to three tenths of a second faster than Rea and van der Mark.

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 widened the gap here in the Netherlands.

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.

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 10threspectively. Eventually, Davies fought back to fifth, but will be frustrated at not being able to get closer to the podium.

Melandri suffered more, however, falling back and never really escaping from the middle pack of five riders that closed the top-10 positions. He finishes seventh, behind the MV Agusta of Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) – 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.

Next round will be from Italy’s Imola (rd 5) from May 11-13.

WorldSBK Race 2 Results: 1. Tom Sykes – Kawasaki  2. Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki  3. Michael van der Mark – Yamaha

WorldSBK Championship Standings  

1. Jonathan Rea – 159 points (Kawasaki)  2. Chaz Davies – 129 points (Ducati)  3. Marco Melandri – 115 points (Ducati)  4. Michael van der Mark – 103 points (Yamaha)  5. Tom Sykes – 101 points (Kawasaki) 

WorldSSP: Cluzel reigns at Assen despite epic Krummenacher comeback

Some races are just made to be watched again and again. The fourth race of the FIM Supersport World Championship at Assen fits perfectly into that category, as the Dutch fans witnessed an epic contest with a fourth winner of the year, a breathtaking climb from the back, more passes than can be counted, heartbreak, and in the end, a championship that is as unpredictable as it is exciting.

When the dust settled, 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 Race Results: 1. Jules Cluzel – Yamaha  2. Randy Krummenacher – Yamaha  3. Raffaele De Rosa – MV Agusta
Australians: DNF. Lachlan Epis – Kawasaki  DNS. Anthony West – Kawasaki  

WorldSSP Championship Standings  

1. Lucas Mahias – 71 points (Yamaha)  2. Randy Krummenacher – 70 points (Yamaha)  3. Sandro Cortese – 65 points (Yamaha)  4. Jules Cluzel – 50 points (Yamaha)  5. Federico Caricasulo – 49 points (Yamaha)

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