Dutch WorldSBK Weekend Race Review from Assen

Jonathan Rea takes victory in gripping 200th WorldSBK race.

Worldsbk Jonathan Rea 2017
Jonathan Rea celebrates his winning run on the second day, which also happened to be his 200th WorldSBK race.Photo: WorldSBK

WORLDSBK SATURDAY

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took a clear victory in Race 1 at the Acerbis Dutch Round on Saturday, after a long battle with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) ended in a frustrating DNF for the Welshman who pulled up at the end of the penultimate lap. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) crossed the line in second place, ahead of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) who completed the rostrum places. Rea had started in fourth place on the grid, having initially been on pole but being moved back three places to the head of row two due to a penalty, following a clash with Davies at the end of SP2. Davies then went on to lead for most of the race before Rea took over in the final stages and then the Ducati rider pulled off track due to a technical issue just before the start of the final lap.

Top 3 Results

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)
  2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +4.501
  3. Marco Melandri (Ducati) +17.673

WORLDSBK SUNDAY

In his 200th WorldSBK race Rea held his nerve to cross the line 0.025s ahead of Sykes as the Yorkshireman applied the pressure in the final stages. It was Rea’s second win of the weekend, his seventh victory from eight races so far in 2017 and his 11th career win at Assen — with maximum points from Round 4 in the Netherlands putting the KRT man 64 points clear at the head of the standings. It was a valiant effort for Sykes after his recent health issues and he will aim for his first win of 2017 next time out, in two weeks time at Imola. After his cruel luck on Saturday, which saw Davies pull up with a technical problem with a lap to go when fighting for victory in Race 1, the Welshman bounced back with a fifth podium result of 2017 so far, in third place.

Top 3 Results

  1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki)
  2. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) +0.025
  3. Chaz Davies (Ducati) +5.077

"It has been an incredible weekend of racing, 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."

- Jonathan Rea

WorldSBK Jonathan Rea 2017
Jonathan Rea saw victory on both days during the Assen round of WorldSBK.Photo: WorldSBK

WORLDSSP SUNDAY

The WorldSSP race at the Acerbis Dutch Round saw the reigning World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) produce a masterclass to dominate from pole, with the Turk joined on the podium by Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda). In clear weather conditions at the TT Assen Circuit Sofuoglu bounced back from his early season problems to take the holeshot and get the hammer down, leading from start to finish and crossing the line +2.611s in front of closest challenger Mahias.

It was the perfect response from the five-time World Champion as he registered his first points of 2017, having missed the first two rounds of the season due to injury and then crashing at Aragon earlier in April on his return to action. It is Sofuoglu’s first victory since his 2016 championship-clinching win at Jerez.

With Sofuoglu racing clear at the front an intriguing battle for second place raged on throughout the 18 lap contest, with Mahias, Cluzel, PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) all in the hunt. Mahias ultimately triumphed in that fight for second but finished with a spectacular wheelie coming out of the final chicane and was almost caught by Cluzel on the line, the two Frenchman separated by just 0.005s.

Top 3 Results
1. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki)
2. Lucas Mahias (Yamaha) +2.611
3. Jules Cluzel (Honda) +2.616

"I have won many times in my career but to come back this year after the season started very bad for me is fantastic. I had a lot of stress for me in personally, finally I am back in position one in the race which means I am more relaxed. I had zero championship points before and now I am just trying to win as much as possible, and it is fantastic to be back on top."

- Kenan Sofuoglu

WorldSBK Race Assen 2017
The WorldSSP race at the Acerbis Dutch Round saw Kenan Sofuoglu dominating from pole.Photo: WorldSBK

WORLDSSP300 SUNDAY

Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) secured a stunning victory in a thrilling WorldSSP300 race around the iconic TT Circuit Assen, following a race long battle for the victory under the Dutch sunshine. Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) got a strong start off the line and took the lead in the opening lap as a battle for the victory developed between the top sixteen riders, with nothing to split the pack. However Sanchez was forced to drop two positions with seven laps to go as he exceeded track limits.

Robert Schotman (GRT Yamaha WorldSSP300 Team) and Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) suffered a crash at turn five with six laps remaining, as they were locked in a battle for a podium finish. Both riders were up and ok. Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) suffered a crash with five laps remaining, ending a tough weekend for the Spanish rider.

In a sensational set of closing laps, fans were treated to some stunning racing action which saw the group split by 0.113s over the line. Wildcard entry Glenn van Straalen (Vos – TKR Racing) took a stunning second position following tough final lap which saw a big crash between wildcard Finn de Bruin (Pearle Gebben Racing) and Angelo Liccardi (Team Trasimeno).

Top 3 Results

  1. Scott Deroue (Kawasaki)
  2. Glenn van Straalen (Honda) +0.113
  3. Alfonso Coppola (Yamaha) +0.277

"My ankle is still not in a good way, the race was really difficult, there was a really big group of riders and at times it was quite dangerous, but we made it to the final lap, it's awesome, I'm really happy to win at home."

- Scott Deroue

Catch all the riders' reactions and more on the WorldSBK social channels and at WorldSBK.com.