Assen, The Netherlands
After one chilled and one deep-frozen WorldSBK outing since the last column we still have red-hot Bolognese as the only meal available in the WorldSBK race-winning restaurant.
It may have a liberal sprinkling of Manchego cheese on top, in the form of the super-fast and utterly faultless Alvaro Bautista, but so far the winning recipe in WorldSBK has been mostly about a game-changing machine and the people who make it sing at castrato engine frequencies all the way to 2019 perfection.
Proof that a well-set-up Ducati Panigale V4R is peerless right now came in two ways in Assen; an event so cold that even well-padded people known for their polo-shirts-with-everything-attire had to fiddle with zips on puffa jackets on their way out of the media centre.
Firstly, when the Aruba.it Ducati team decided to try to give Bautista more of a potential advantage for the future, their attempts to take his bike setting into a potentially more golden point on the compass met with disaster. In any direction of change, it seemed. Disaster was their rider’s word, not mine.
Press releases from the organizers and some of the teams after the Sunday races at Assen:
World Superbike standings after Race 2 at Assen:
World Supersport standings after the third round of the season:
The second twenty-one lap race of the day used the same grid as the first, with there being no time to fit a Superpole sprint race between the main events. The conditions were a little warmer, offering a little more grip than this morning.
World Superbike standings after the delayed first race at Assen:
Eighteen laps and no snow, World Supersport wouldn't be like qualifying yesterday.
World Superbike race one finally started on Sunday morning that wasn't as cold as Saturday's four-seasons-in-a-day weather, but it was still cold enough for riders to half-cover their radiators, silver-taping the centre line behind the front wheel.
The weather in Assen has not been kind to WorldSBK. Exceptionally cold temperatures on Saturday caused problems for the Superpole session, but shortly after Superpole, it started to snow. That forced the organizers to delay the start of Race 1, but after snow started to fall again, the rest of the action was canceled, meaning both WorldSBK Race 1 and the WorldSSP300 Last Chance Race were called off.
The cancelation of Race 1 means a new schedule for Sunday at Assen. The Superpole race has been canceled, with two full races to be held on Sunday instead. WorldSBK Race 1 will start at 11am CEST, while Race 2 will start at the normal time of 2pm CEST.
Below is the press release announcing the change: