The second 21-lap Assen race provided a double win for Jonathan Rea (KRT), with his team-mate Tom Sykes second this time out, as both riders continue to find success on the new model Ninja ZX-10R. The Sunday race was started in wet conditions but rapidly dried out, meaning all the riders pitted to change tyres at some stage.
Once again Rea proved to have the magic touch at Assen, winning his second race of the weekend, his 9th race in total at the Dutch track and his fifth race victory of the season in eight attempts. He now has a career total of 34 WorldSBK race wins, placing him a clear fourth in the all time race winners’ rankings.
At the start of the race, in fully wet track conditions, Sykes took the lead from his pole position grid placing. The changing weather and drying track surface saw him drop back and soon pit to change tyres but in the heat of the tyre change process he went out on intermediate tyres, not the front intermediate/rear slick he intended to use.
When Rea, who was one of six riders to lead the race at some stage as the competitors entered and left the pits at will, stopped for dry weather tyres he returned to the fray at strong pace, after finding the grip level for a lap. He and his team-mate Sykes, who had pitted for new rubber first, finally competed for the race win in the final laps.
Rea ran out the winner by 2.442 seconds, extending his championship lead in the process with his second double win of 2016.
Sykes’ intermediate rear tyre had an effect on the outcome of his race but in finishing second, after a day one crash and no score, the 2013 world champion recovered in great style and scored 20 highly valuable championship points.
In the overall championship table Rea leads by 45 points, from today’s race two fifth place rider Chaz Davies. Sykes is third overall, now 32 points ahead of the fourth place rider. Kawasaki leads the Manufacturers’ Standings by 44 points with the new model Ninja ZX-10R.
Jonathan Rea stated: “Our target this weekend was to increase our championship lead and we did that. I said to Pere my crew chief before the start of the race that the track should dry out pretty fast. We have had previous experiences like that. I have no idea why I go so well at Assen. It is nothing to do with the track itself. We got a double victory but it was not like Australia where I had more pace than the rest. We controlled the situations this weekend when we had to, we were calm and clever when we had to be, and as a team our strength shone through to get two strong results. We got the maximum from what we could achieve here so I am super, super, happy with that. Our stars aligned this weekend and it worked out, so I am just happy.”
Tom Sykes stated: “At the start of the race I just wasn’t able to get the lean angle and the power down using the wet tyres, because of the mixed conditions, so I came into pitlane early. I went for the intermediate front and we managed that front tyre well. With the mistake made for the intermediate rear, that cost us. Even considering this, our pace was very strong and second position is not too bad. Yesterday we were in the gravel and today finishing in second place is a good result. We have had strong pace all weekend, in the wet and the dry, and in warm-up we found a good rhythm this morning. It has just been one of those weekends where the results do not fit what we deserve - but that is racing. Now we can focus on the next round and build on the bike set-up that we have been working on..”
Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) ended up 12th in race two, and is 14th overall in the points. Lucas Mahias (Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) led the race for a spell as he stayed out on his wet tyres for some time, but finished up 13th as he stood in for the injured Sylvain Barrier. Dominic Schmitter (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) was 20th and Josh Hook (Grillini Racing Team Kawasaki) was unable to start after a collision with another rider in morning warm-up.
The Italian circuit of Imola will host the fifth round of the championship, with track action starting on 29 April and ending on 1 May.