Assen, The Netherlands

2017 Assen World Superbike FP3 Results: Rea Quickest Again

In the morning's untimed session, Jonathan Rea approached Loris Baz's outright lap record as the only man to get under 1'35, over eight tenths of a second quicker than his teammate, second quickest Tom Sykes. Chaz Davies, third quickest, is the only other rider within a second of Rea's time. 

Results:

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2017 Assen World Supersport FP2 Results: Sofuoglu Takes Over

With PJ Jacobsen unable to better his morning's time, the only rider in the top twenty not able to do so, Kenan Sofuoglu took over at the top with the first sub-1'39 lap of the weekend. Federico Caricasulo sat in third place overall, second quickest this session. 

Session Results:

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2017 Assen World Superbike FP2 Results: Rea, Davies And Sykes At The Top

Jonathan Rea ran two extended runs, the second being an eighteen lap charge within which he set the fastest lap. Chaz Davies also took advantage of the lack of rain for a twelve lap run while Tom Sykes continued to chase settings ahead of tomorrow's Superpole and race. 

Michael van der Mark wasn't able to improve on his morning's time, but his early lap was good enough to qualify him for Superpole two. Marco Melandri improved on his time, but remained in tenth place. 

Session Results:

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2017 Assen World Supersport FP1 Results: Jacobsen and Sofuoglu Clear Off

PJ Jacobsen and Kenan Sofuoglu got the most out of the morning's hour long session, with everyone from fourth place and back being over a second off the pace. Lucas Mahias was the only other rider to get within a second of Jacobsen's quick time, almost three quarters of a second behind the quick pair.

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2017 Assen World Superbike FP1 Results: Sykes Leads Rea And Davies

Tom Sykes opened the weekend with the quickest time, ahead of Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea while local man Michael van der Mark was fourth quickest. With rain feared for this afternoon, getting into the top ten in this first hour was important for Superpole tomorrow and Marco Melandri nearly missed out, with Alex Lowes crashing out of a lap that would have kept Melandri outside the top ten. 

Results:

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2017 MotoGP Calendar Now Confirmed

The 2017 MotoGP calendar is now officially confirmed. The FIM removed the provisional status of the calendar after Dorna finalized contracts with the two remaining circuits still left with an asterisk, Silverstone and Sepang.

The situation with Sepang had been settled earlier, with Sepang keen to retain a MotoGP race for the long term. Sepang has grown to become one of the best-attended races on the calendar. So large are the crowds that they now easily outnumber attendance for F1, which the circuit is trying to drop.

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New Grandstands At Assen, And The Economic Impact Of A MotoGP Race

"If it wasn't for the Dutch TT race, I would have to close my business." Those were the words of the taxi driver who took me from Assen train station to the circuit, for a presentation on the plans for major upgrades to their spectator facilities over the next three years and beyond.

It offered an insight into the importance of the MotoGP race at Assen, and by extension, the importance of circuits and MotoGP events around the world. My taxi driver explained that over the week surrounding the Assen race, he was kept so busy that the money he made during that period was the difference between ending the year with a profit and the ability to invest in the future of the business, or just about breaking even.

Chatting to an official of the provincial government, who had grown up in the city and worked in bars there during his college years, he confirmed that experience. The bars back then were so busy during the race weekend that it was the difference between survival and failure. The same is true for many businesses and hotels around the region, as anyone who has ever tried to book accommodation in the weeks before the race can attest.

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