2013 Assen World Superbike Weekend Roundup: Of Ups, Downs And Surprises

The World Superbike standings after a weekend's racing in the Netherlands make for interesting reading. The day gave us good weather that got better as the day went on and thrilling racing that followed the weather. There were ups and downs, winners and losers and those who leave with a mixture of both.

The woes of BMW Motorrad Italia, for instance, could have been a lot worse. In the morning's warmup, Chaz Davies destroyed his bike, giving his mechanics a full morning's schedule to build him a new bike from what was left, and heading to the starting grid, Marco Melandri's bike broke its gearbox in sympathy, ruling him out of race one. Coupled with Davies's unfortunate qualifying and Melandri's unusual glitch in the middle of the second race, it looked like BMW Motorrad would leave the Netherlands with empty pockets. It rested with Chaz Davies to recover some dignity for the team, and his pulling twenty points out of the bag did just that. To remain in second place, albeit joint second place with the two men considered the most likely to walk away with the title, is as good as could be hoped for.

PATA Honda also faced a disastrous weekend, with Leon Haslam tagging his leg in a tumbling bike in the sort of crash he's known to have walked away from unscathed in the past, and with their bike simply not being on par with the front runners. Enough bandwidth and ink has been sacrificed commenting on the state of the Fireblade that it goes without saying that Jonathan Rea's second and fourth places were a feat of talent and determination, but this island of hope, sandwiched between the horsepower tracks of Aragon and Monza was the best chance to showcase that talent. Rea's team get to celebrate this one before the crushing realisation that Monza looms ahead dawns.

Alstare Ducati should have made their mark here, with the track typically favouring red bikes with two cylinders ridden by world champions, but Carlos Checa couldn't push the bike as he languished in tenth place in both races. The disappointment was evident in both the rider's and the team's comments, hidden behind the positive spin. It's looking like Ducati's return with a brand new bike is starting to resemble their MotoGP efforts instead of reviving their past glories.

The last team with mixed fortunes is Crescent FIXI Suzuki. Leon Camier's missing of Superpole, in addition to his injury, plus Jules Cluzel suffering from mechanical failures in the race, the bikes and circumstances forced Leon Camier to push from last place on the grid. Camier had stated on Saturday that his knee started to hurt after just four laps on the GSXR, and it was unknown if he would even manage race distance, especially starting from last place on the grid, but with a ninth and seventh, he silenced the doubters and gave his team something worth cheering about.

On the other hand, Aprilia had a great weekend, with Sylvain Guintoli retaining his lead and Eugene Laverty standing on the top step in race two. Guintoli described his bike as not having any weaknesses, and after this weekend, it's hard to disagree with that assessment. Heading to Monza, a track that rewards the long-legged of bikes, and a track that Laverty has won at before, twice, Aprilia look comfortable.

Kawasaki had an even better weekend than Aprilia did. A predictable Tom Sykes pole, a win and a second place for Sykes and a third for Loris Baz gave them almost as large a points haul as Aprilia. Baz showed that, in his first full-time year with the Superbike team, he isn't just a rain man, a typical Frenchman on a green bike, and that he's actually a force in the dry as well. While Sykes's talent is openly recognised and celebrated, it won't be long before Baz is considered a challenger to the rest.

The championship is unusual at the moment as, while Sylvain Guintoli leads by a comfortable 28 points, second place is shared between Eugene Laverty, Chaz Davies and Tom Sykes. Heading to Monza, three riders are all aiming, from equal footing, to dethrone Guintoli.

World Supersports gave us the fight we were waiting for, the head to head battle between the title favourites, and in this respect, it delivered. performances behind the leading two were spirited and exciting, but the race won't be remembered for anything but Sam Lowes beating Kenan Sofuoglu for the first time this year. Lowes gave the Yakhnich Motorsport team their first win and, even though his result only put him and Sofuoglu in joint third, he should head to Monza knowing he can win on this bike.

And what of Assen itself, as much a character in the weekend as any of the riders or bikes? As predicted, although it was a safe prediction, the last chicane proved to determine on the last lap the podium in one race and the winner in two.

Monza, another old traditional track is next, and as long as it's dry, we should see equally exciting racing.

Standings:

2013 - FIM Superbike World Championship

1 Sylvain Guintoli Aprilia 111
2 Eugene Laverty Aprilia 83
3 Chaz Davies BMW 83
4 Tom Sykes Kawasaki 83
5 Jonathan Rea Honda 63
6 Loris Baz Kawasaki 58
7 Michel Fabrizio Aprilia 53
8 Marco Melandri BMW 51
9 Jules Cluzel Suzuki 41
10 Davide Giugliano Aprilia 33
11 Leon Camier Suzuki 30
12 Carlos Checa Ducati 29
13 Leon Haslam Honda 29
14 Max Neukirchner Ducati 29
15 Ayrton Badovini Ducati 20
16 Ivan Clementi BMW 14
17 Federico Sandi Kawasaki 8
18 Alexander Lundh Kawasaki 7
19 Glen Allerton BMW 6
20 Jamie Stauffer Honda 4
21 Vittorio Iannuzzo BMW 2
22 Mark Aitchison Ducati 2

2013 - FIM Supersport World Championship

1 Fabien Foret Kawasaki 54
2 Michael Vd Mark Honda 49
3 Sam Lowes Yamaha 45
4 Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki 45
5 Andrea Antonelli Kawasaki 29
6 Luca Scassa Kawasaki 26
7 Lorenzo Zanetti Honda 24
8 Jack Kennedy Honda 24
9 Roberto Rolfo MV Agusta 17
10 Massimo Roccoli Yamaha 14
11 Riccardo Russo Kawasaki 13
12 Vladimir Leonov Yamaha 12
13 Florian Marino Kawasaki 11
14 David Salom Kawasaki 11
15 Kev Coghlan Kawasaki 11
16 Luca Marconi Honda 10
17 Vladimir Ivanov Kawasaki 6
18 Alex Baldolini Honda 6
19 Christian Iddon MV Agusta 5
20 Roberto Tamburini Suzuki 4
21 Fabio Menghi Yamaha 2
22 Mathew Scholtz Suzuki 2

 

Race Details
Round Number: 
3
2013

Comments

No US tv coverage

Gee it'd sure be nice to actually SEE these races. As a Kawi owner I'm stoked for Tom Sykes and his team. Too bad the WSBK website doesn't have a season video pass like MotoGP does. I'd be all over that...

Total votes: 38

WSBK on BEin Sports

There is U.S. TV coverage, it is just not widely available. BEin Sports has an excellent live, commercial free broadcast. They even showed the entire STK1000 race in the break before WSBK race two. The channel is owned by Time-Warner Cable and if you have their sports package you most likely get this channel.

Total votes: 48

I've heard on Bein sports only recently

But their website is terrible and Time Warner is not offered in much of the US and they don't have a majority of the market therefore this isn't a viable option for many. No reason to pay for a sports package with golf and tennis and curling when I just want motorcycle racing which is why my preferred method of watching will remain waiting half a day to see it on Eurosport2 in 720p.

Total votes: 43

BeIN provides outstanding coverage.

Patcasp, It has been widely posted on many race websites that beIN Sports is broadcasting live WSBK races in the US this season. DirecTv channel 620. Check your listings if you have a different provider. If your TV provider does not carry Bein Sports, then you can watch live streaming of the races at http://beinsportlivestreaming.overon.es/

At racerxseven, beIN Sport Is a global network of sports channels owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al Jazeera Media Networks.

Doughnuts, not sure what's terrible about the site. Use the link above and the stream is HD, commercial free and free.

Total votes: 45

BEin is BADass

I had heard it was jointly owned by Al Jazeera and Time-Warner, perhaps I was misinformed. Irregardless the coverage is great and the sports package on Time-Warner is cheap, it also provides access to speed2.com (which shows a lotta cool euro stuff). Now if only they showed qualifying.

Total votes: 44

Ducati

Is there some prospect that the Ducati will be allowed to run without the restrictors in the near future?
The bike is obviously competitive in superstock, and it's possible that some of their apparent handling woes are due to engine characteristics resulting from choking down their intakes by 45%...

Total votes: 38

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