Press releases from the teams and organizers previewing the upcoming Dutch round of WorldSBK at Assen:
The Cathedral awaits WorldSBK
Feel the speed as the paddock heads to TT Circuit Assen
Round Four of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is fast approaching, and adrenaline will be pumped and steaks will be high following three weeks away from the tarmac. Heading to the iconic TT Circuit Assen, WorldSBK riders will be fighting for glory in-front of passionate Dutch fans, at a circuit which has captured the hearts of many with its history alone. 4.5km of sweeping corners and perfect overtaking opportunities await the 21 warriors, and as history has proved anything can happen in The Netherlands.
The European leg of the championship began last time out at MotorLand Aragon, and fans witnessed some of the closest racing seen in years as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) went bar to bar, with some dramatic consequences. After a stunning weekend of racing action, riders then took to the track for a one day Official Test, meaning we may see a boost in some performances in Round Four. One thing is for sure, the Acerbis Dutch Round will provide high levels of drama.
All eyes will be on home hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) as he heads to his home round following a strong start to the season, but without that all important podium finish so far in 2017. Last year’s Dutch Round was a mixed bag for the 24 year old; crashing out of podium contention in race one but finally getting that taste of glory in race two with a third position finish. Hoping to impress in front of his loyal home fans, van der Mark will look at putting the changes to his YZF-R1 to good use around the historic circuit.
Jonathan Rea left the Pirelli Aragon Round with a 50 point championship lead after just six races, and heads to The Netherlands as one of the favourites for sipping Prosecco on the podium. British riders have won 26 out of the 50 races held around Assen, and out of those Rea has his name to nine of them, meaning he is heading to yet another circuit he is strong around. The 30 year old has a near-perfect record so far in 2017 and with the unpredictable nature of Assen, can he get into double figures?
MotorLand Aragon certainly wasn’t short of drama for Chaz Davies, as the Welshman scored both his first DNF and victory of the season – experiencing heartbreak and ecstasy the space of two days. Just 50 points off Rea in the title chase, Round Three proved anything can happen and Davies will be out to attack at Assen. Involved in the fight for the win last year, Davies’ record around Assen is a varied one but taking three second positions in the last four races puts him in a good position to battle for the victory in Round Four.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) won Assen’s Race One in 2013, and has secured pole position four times around the iconic track. Following a strong start to the season, as well as fighting through an illness around MotorLand Aragon, Sykes sits in third in the championship standings but is yet to secure that sought-after first win of the season. Looking at altering how the ZX-10RR enters corners as well as the general pace of his green machine at the MotorLand test, Sykes will head to Assen with the hope of a better weekend overall in 2017 – following a crash in race one at the unforgiving Gert Timmer chicane.
Impressing so far on his return to WorldSBK, Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) has secured four podium finishes in 2017, proving he isn’t here to just make up the numbers. Unable to bridge the gap to the leaders, he continues on his battle to become the 100th Italian victor in WorldSBK. With a vast experience around the TT Assen Ciruit, Melandri doesn’t have a strong record around the track –never having finished on the podium here in WorldSBK. However with his consistent pace and a strong Panigale R underneath him, all this could change this weekend.
Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) has a long history with the TT Assen Circuit, securing his second MotoGP™ victory in dramatic circumstances back in 2006, to standing on the WorldSBK podium for the first time in 2016. With a challenging start to 2017 onboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, the American will hope some modifications made in the Official MotorLand Aragon test will help him to progress forward this season – with just three top ten finishes so far. Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) has always struggled around the 4.5km circuit, but will be hoping to turn a new leaf this April.
Following a tough return to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) put in a strong run at the Official MotorLand Test, optimistic he can take this pace forward to The Netherlands. With a mixed history around the ever popular TT Assen Circuit, Laverty took the Race Two victory back in 2013 with Aprilia and out of all the races he has finished around the circuit in WorldSBK – he has done so in the top ten. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) will hope to make his return to the series in The Netherlands, as he sat out of MotorLand Aragon following his injuries sustained in Thailand.
Collecting three top six finishes out of the last four MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship races held at the TT Circuit Assen, Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) will be looking to continue progressing on board his S 1000 RR. With a new team-mate in the experienced Raffaele De Rosa, he will no doubt be hoping to make another step towards the top five in Holland.
Determined MV Agusta rider Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) continues to work through issues on board his 1000 F, producing some impressive results. Running into mechanical issues, the Brit has finished outside of the top ten on just two occasions so far in 2017, and he will hope for a smoother weekend in the fourth round of the season. Camier secured a podium finish in WorldSBK back in 2010 at Assen, which he will hope to emulate this weekend as the 30 year old has taken some credible results at the circuit since then.
Want to remember some of the stunning races we have seen around the TT Assen Circuit, or want to re-visit some of the stunning action so far in 2017? Sign up to the WorldSBK VideoPass now, and keep up with everything WorldSBK.
Classic Assen The Next Venue For KRT
With a European-based sequence of races now underway, a run which started at the previous round at Motorland Aragon in Spain, Assen will offer up the next points scoring opportunities this coming weekend. Race one will take place on Saturday 29th April and race two on Sunday 30th.
A remarkable start to his latest title defence has seen Rea win five of the first six WorldSBK races - and finish second in the other. His points total of 145 is therefore only five points from perfection on the Ninja ZX-10RR. Jonathan is fully 50 points ahead of Chaz Davies in the championship, with Sykes third overall and only five points behind Davies at this early stage of the season.
Sykes, still fighting off the effects of an infection that has affected his digestive system, is looking to Assen for his first race winning opportunity in 2017 to add to his haul of 31 career WorldSBK victories. All of those wins have come on Kawasaki machinery. Despite his illness and time spent modifying some aspects of his riding style, to suit the latest technical rules in the class, Sykes has secured four podiums from the first six races.
The 4.542km long Circuit van Drenthe, located on the outskirts of the town of Assen itself, has been fertile ground for KRT in recent times. Rea has secured all four of the most recent Assen race victories since he joined Kawasaki in 2015. He has secured a total of nine race wins there through his career, which is the second highest number of race victories for a single rider at a single track in WorldSBK history. Sykes has also recorded a race win at the TT Circuit in Assen, in his championship-winning year of 2013, when he won the first race of the day.
Despite all the early success in 2017 with the ZX-10RR Kawasaki and the whole KRT team have continued to strive for more success with their latest WorldSBK developments in testing, both immediately after the Motorland Aragon race meeting and during a two day session at Portimao in Portugal last week.
The WorldSSP series, STK1000 and all-new WorldSSP300 category – in which a Kawasaki rider won first time out at Motorland – will again join the WorldSBK paddock at Assen.
After race weekend has been completed in the Netherlands Imola hosts the fifth round of the championship, with racedays on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of May.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I'm really excited to go to Assen as it's a circuit that typically I've been very strong at in the past. I really enjoy the layout and nature of the track. Sunday at Assen will also mark my 200th career WorldSBK race start so that, in itself, is something I'm both proud and excited about. Since the Motorland Aragon race we had three days testing where we've worked hard to improve the set up of the ZX-10RR and also worked on some areas where we have been struggling, with positive results. The WorldSBK Assen weekend always falls around this time of the year and history has shown that the weather can play a part, so it's important to be fast in both the wet and the dry. I'm excited for whatever condition arrives. It's always a great feeling riding in front of the passionate Dutch fans, who always turn out in force.”
Tom Sykes, stated: “I am really looking forward to going back to Assen as I am very excited and motivated to race there again. I will just have to see how I feel, physically, after the problems I have been having. This has distracted me a little bit but I am ready to go back to the Netherlands to race. We have had a couple of tests since the last event. Even though I wasn’t at full capacity we definitely got some direction from those so I am looking forward to going back to the Assen layout. I really enjoy the place and I think every rider does. It was always an ambition to ride at Assen when I was young. We have some little set-up changes and developments that we tried in testing that we will be taking them to Assen.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team ready to resume action at Assen for the 4th round of the WorldSBK Championship
The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to take it to the track once again this weekend at Assen (Netherlands), home of the fourth round of the 2017 WorldSBK Championship. The team’s goal across the board is to confirm Aragon’s performance levels, which allowed Chaz Davies to seal the first win of the season in Race 2 and Marco Melandri to make further progress in terms of continuity and collect his first double-podium with the Panigale R. To this end, both riders will have at their disposal the latest upgrades in terms of chassis and electronics, which were tested with positive feedback at Aragon after the race.
As for results on the Dutch track, both Davies and Melandri showed their appreciation for Drenthe’s “Cathedral”: the Welshman took 3 podiums with Ducati in the last couple of seasons, while the Italian has yet to step on the rostrum in WorldSBK but won twice (collecting two further podiums) during his MotoGP tenure.
After three rounds, Davies (95 points) and Melandri (81 points) are respectively second and fourth in the championship. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team will resume action on April 28 at 09:45 (CET) for the first free-practice session.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)
“I’m looking forward to this weekend, especially as I think we’ve made some good improvements in the post-race tests at Aragon. It’s going to be another opportunity to evaluate the parts that we’ve introduced and seemed to work really well in Spain. Assen is a completely different circuit so it will be a good test, but anyway I’m confident we’ve made another step forward. I’ve had pretty good results at Assen, in the past couple of years. We had a good pace in dry conditions but the weather is always a question mark and last year we made a strategic mistake in flag-to-flag conditions, but we learned from it so we’re keen to pick up from where we left off at Aragon.”
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)
“Assen is a track that I really enjoy riding at, even if it was more fascinating in its old layout, but for different reasons I never managed to win there in WorldSBK. It will be an important benchmark for us, because it’s a completely different circuit compared with the ones we raced at so far, with a short straight and many fast corners. Our hope is to confirm the steps forward made with the latest upgrades we tested post-race at Aragon. Physically I’m OK, thankfully it took only a week to recover from the crash during the tests, and I was able to train properly. The forecast says it’s going to be cold, so let’s hope for dry conditions because it’s always tricky to ride with low temperatures in the wet.”
Lowes and van der Mark Arrive in Assen Ready to Ride
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark arrive in Assen this week ready and fully motivated to tackle the famous Cathedral of Speed on their 2017 World Superbike spec YZF-R1 machines. Round four of the FIM World Superbike Championship will take place this weekend, the 29th and 30th April. Both Lowes and van der Mark will be keeping their fingers crossed for better weather than last year, that saw everything from hail, rain and sunshine over the two days of Superbike racing.
British rider Lowes arrives in Assen sitting in fifth in the championship standings after three rounds, looking to close the 16 point gap to Marco Melandri in fourth. The Official Yamaha rider is no stranger to Assen, having scored his first ever WorldSBK podium there in 2014. Lowes was able to show a consistent front running pace at the last round in Aragon, feeding team confidence heading in to the Dutch weekend.
Van der Mark returns to Assen this week to tackle his home round for the first time as an official Yamaha WorldSBK rider. The young Dutchman arrives in front of his home crowd in confident mood having booked steady and consistent progress on the YZF-R1 since joining the team at the beginning of the year. Two fifth place finishes in Aragon three weeks ago combined with strong local support and unrivalled track knowledge at Assen all add to van der Marks potential this weekend.
The Assen TT Circuit is located to the north east of The Netherlands - approximately 170kms from Amsterdam - and remains a firm favourite amongst the WorldSBK Championship's riders and fans alike. Its high-octane nature mixes 17 corners with mid-length straights providing breath-taking racing around its clockwise layout, with the final chicane the scene of many memorable last-lap battles. The Dutch round's main event will take place at 13:00 local time on both Saturday and Sunday as Lowes and van der Mark take to the track for the two 21-lap races.
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
After a solid start to the season and then three weeks off I am really motivated heading into Assen. The next couple of months the races come quite fast and I am excited about the potential of the Pata Yamaha. Assen is a track I have always really enjoyed; I got my first WSBK podium there in 2014. I really enjoy sector three it's flowing and this part in particular suits my style. I first raced Assen in 2012 with the BSB series, the fans have always been fantastic so now with a Dutch team mate I think it's going to be a great one for the team. Michael will have a lot of pressure and he has already come out saying he can challenge for the win, so I'm going to creep under the radar! I cannot wait!
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team
Im really looking forward to my home race. It's always something special to ride in front of your home crowd. After the Aragon weekend with good results and a really good test Im going to Assen with lots of confidence. The YZF-R1 starts to feel like really my own bike and together with the Assen circuit it should be a good combination. Hopefully we can get our best results of the season and really enjoy my home race!
Althea BMW all set for upcoming Dutch round
Rome (Italy), Wednesday 26 April 2017
Almost a month after the third round of the Superbike World Championship, which took place at the Motorland Aragón in Spain, now the Althea BMW Racing Team leaves for The Netherlands and the TT Circuit Assen, ready to take part in round four.
The Van Drenthe track is a Mecca for motorcyclists, having hosted races since 1925. In 1955, a new track was constructed, with various changes taking place over the following years. Today the track measures 4542 mt. in length with 6 left-hand turns and 11 right-handers.
Last year, rider Jordi Torres closed with a best result of fifth on board his BMW S 1000 RR. At a track that he enjoys, the Spaniard is keen to express his full potential this weekend. From this round on, Torres will be flanked by Raffaele De Rosa, winner of the Stock1000 title with Althea in 2016. Following Reiterberger’s departure, De Rosa has essentially returned 'home’, becoming the team’s new SBK rider.
Over the Motorland Aragón race weekend, Althea BMW rider Marco Faccani closed his first Stock1000 race of the 2017 season in fifth position; the young Italian now aims to improve on his Spanish performance at Assen.
With three rounds already completed, Torres positions seventh in the standings with 48 points, while in the Superstock 1000, after just one race, Faccani places fifth with 11 points.
“I always enjoy racing at Assen. Last year I was able to achieve a solid fifth place finish in race 2 and this year I hope to do even better. The only unknown is the weather, as from the forecast it looks like it will be cold. The tests at Aragon went well and were useful, which leaves me feeling confident not just for Assen but for the rest of the championship”.
Raffaele De Rosa
“I’m really pleased to finally start my season. Originally the idea was to only do a few wildcard entries but now that I have the chance to race for the rest of the season I’m feeling extremely motivated. Last year I won my first Stock race at Assen. We need to look out for the weather, which is always unstable in Holland but my aim is to stay focused and do my best. I can’t wait to get started…”
“I hope that I am finally back in shape physically-speaking, and with my shoulder, having worked a lot on that in the gym. I don’t mind the Assen track, though it’s not one of my favourites; last year I came home in fourth so I hope for a good weekend this time around. I think the bike suits the track too, considering De Rosa won last year on the BMW. I hope we are able to find a good setting from day one, and then it’s fingers crossed for the weather!”
Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team ready to race on home turf at Assen
TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands
The FIM Superbike World Championship is back in action this weekend at the TT Circuit Assen, the home track for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team. Round four of the 2017 season – the second one on European soil – will be a special one for the Dutch squad, with Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl ready to battle around the 4.542km technical track on board their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machines.
Last year, Hayden took the first podium of his World Superbike career at Assen, a third place in race one from tenth position on the grid. This is not the only fond memory of Assen for Nicky, who came out victorious in 2006 after a thrilling finale in that year’s MotoGP race and was third at the chequered flag the following season.
Stefan Bradl has had a fair amount of success in qualifying at the Dutch venue, with one pole position in Moto2 and three front-row starts (two in MotoGP and one in 125cc). The German’s best race result so far at Assen, however, is a pair of sixth places, one in 2009 (125cc) and the other in 2013 (MotoGP on a Honda).
The schedule for the Assen round will follow the traditional European timetable, with the two races set to get underway at 1pm CEST (GMT +2) on Saturday and Sunday.
Nicky Hayden 69
I look forward to racing at Assen. It’s a track with a lot of history and it’s the home circuit for the team so, after the difficulties we experienced in Aragón almost a month ago, we’ll try to have a bit more fun here. It’s a very fast and flowing track and a lot comes down to the last chicane, where a lot of races are decided. I can’t wait to get on track and see where we’re at. As usual at this time of the year, the weather plays a key role in the weekend: looking at the forecast it seems like it’ll be very variable, so we have to take advantage of every condition and be ready for anything. Let’s see what we can do: hopefully we’ll be able to secure some results we can be happy about.
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
Stefan Bradl 6
I’m looking forward to Assen. It’s going to be an important race not only for the team, but also for us riders because it’s a new round and our goal is to do better than the last one. It’s good to get back on the bike; I hope the weather is not going to be too unkind to us, in order to make the most of our time on track and see how the bike performs at this track, which is quite different to the ones we have already raced on this year. Hopefully, we can make a step forward so we’ll see how it goes
- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
We are ready for Assen, a track where we’ve done well in the past and that hopefully will be kind to us even this time around. We did some testing between Aragón and here and we are taking to Assen some of the updates we tried. It looks like the weather is going to be a factor this weekend but that will not be a surprise. In any case, our hope is that it’ll be a dry weekend. I reckon a top-six result is within our range with both Nicky and Stefan, so we’ll do our best to make that happen.
Manufacturer’s ups and downs at Assen
Which team should you keep an eye on in The Netherlands?
Aprilia have won twice at Assen, with Eugene Laverty in Race 2, 2013, and Sylvain Guintoli in Race 1, 2014: which was their last podium finish here. Last year the best Aprilia results were provided by Lorenzo Savadori: 6th in Race 1 and 4th in Race 2.
The best result for BMW at Assen was recorded by Marco Melandri in the first 2012 Race: 4th. Last year Jordi Torres came close to repeat it in Race 1, finishing 5th with Markus Reiterberger not far behind in 7th. They struggled in the wet in Race 2 as the best-placed BMW was Karel Abraham in 14th.
70 podiums in Assen for Ducati machinery: the second-best record in history behind the 76 scored in Misano by Ducati. Their wins tally is equally impressive: 25 which is again, inferior only to their Misano total of 28. Ducati weren’t able to win here in the last four years/nine races, which is this their worst drought at the Dutch track. The last Assen win for Ducati came in Race 2 in 2012, where they locked out the podium with Sylvain Guintoli in 1st, Davide Giugliano in 2nd and Carlos Checa in 3rd.
The 3rd place seems to be an all-Honda affair in recent times in Assen, as in the last four races held here the third spot was always occupied by a Honda bike: three times by Michael van der Mark and once (Race 1 last year) by Nicky Hayden. They were also in 3rd in 2014 Race 1 with Jonathan Rea, who went onto win the second race. Since 2004 they have scored at least one podium per race weekend here.They are second only to Ducati for wins here: 15 to 25.
The combined performances of Tom Sykes in qualifying and Jonathan Rea in the races made Kawasaki an unbeatable machine in Assen: they won the last 4 races held here and recorded pole in the last 5 race weekends. Their string of 5 poles was recorded only once in the past in this track: from 1992 to 1996 by Ducati. The last time a bike manufacturer won more than 4 straight races at Assen was in 1997 Race 2-1999 Race 2, when Carl Fogarty won four races and Frankie Chili one (1998 Race 1).
Yamaha have won twice at Assen: Noriyuki Haga claimed Race 2 in 2000 and Ben Spies won from pole in Race One, 2009. James Toseland was the last Yamaha rider on the podium here with a second and a third in the 2010 races. Last year Alex Lowes was the top scoring Yamaha rider around Assen with an 8th in Race 1 and a 7th in Race 2.
Last year in Assen MV Agusta recorded their best WorldSBK result: for the first time they were able to secure a top 4 finish with Leon Camier.
WorldSSP Predicts a Riot
Historical Assen the setting for what is set to be a thriller
Three rounds, three winners so far in the FIM Supersport World Championship, and its Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who leads the way in the unpredictable series so far. Now the paddock heads to the legendary TT Circuit Assen for Round Four, a track which is notorious for providing close, unpredictable racing action. Last year produced strong levels of drama as rain hit the Dutch track which led to the race being red flagged, but new regulations in place for 2017 mean WorldSSP now has flag to flag races, so all this could change for 2017.
High winds around MotorLand Aragon for Round Three didn’t slow WorldSSP riders down, and despite a crash which saw returning World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) score no points so far in 2017, the quality of on track action was second to none. What will Round Four produce?
Mahias planned his win to perfection in the Pirelli Aragon Round and is beginning to show signs of a true championship contender, despite missing out on points in Thailand. The Frenchman took a second position in Australia and following his first victory, knows he now has what it takes to be up and running at the front. With a strong history around the circuit – Mahias’ two WorldSBK appearances have been in The Netherlands – he will understandably be heading there with a good feeling on his Yamaha machine.
Sheridan Morias (Kallio Racing) narrowly missed out on the victory around MotorLand Aragon, despite putting in his best efforts in the hotly contested fight. With his sporadic riding style, the South African was up and fighting from the first lap. With a tough record around the Cathedral it will be a challenge Morias to be up and fighting; however with the backing of his Yamaha YZR-R6 he will certainly have the right machine to help him push for the victory.
Sitting in fourth in the championship standings is young British rider Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who has been taking his time to adjust to the Kawasaki ZX-6R in the hotly competitive series. Team-mate to reigning champion Kenan Sofuolgu, Ryde has secured some consistent finishes in 2017, the 19 year old is only missing out on that all important podium finish. With a limited racing history in The Netherlands, he will spend another weekend learning and understanding the circuit.
Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) has a strong racing history around The Cathedral, and the Finn will be looking to build on his lone podium finish in 2017 as he sits in the top five in the World Championship. With a victory and second position to his name in the now former European Superstock 600 series, Tuuli will be one to keep an eye on as his levels of confidence build.
On top of the previous front runners, World Supersport offers a handful of riders who could produce some heroics throughout the race weekends, and riders not to forget. Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) sits in second position in the championship standings following his Phillip Island heroics, and the Italian has so far kept up a consistent run into 2017. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be a rider to watch out for around Assen with a strong history around the circuit, he will certainly be out with a point to prove following his DNF at the Pirelli Aragon Round. Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) hasn’t had the start to the season he would have hoped for, with just 13 points scored so far in 2017, which were achieved last time out at MotorLand Aragon. PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was able to take his first podium of the season last time out as he slowly adjusts to the Italian machine, which has caused him some issues so far in 2017.
Take a look back over the WorldSSP races around the TT Circuit Assen with the WorldSBK VideoPass, and relive some of the excitement around the historic track.
Season Restarts For Kawasaki And Puccetti
The fourth round of the 2017 FIM Supersport World Championship will get underway at Assen in the Netherlands this coming weekend with both Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his team-mate Kyle Ryde ready to shoot for podium success for the first time this year.
After losing his chance of a top three finish in his comeback race after injury at Motorland Aragon last time out, five-time champion Sofuoglu is keen to get back into action in the Netherlands to start his championship challenge afresh.
The most decorated rider in the history of the WorldSSP championship, Sofuoglu has scored 117 starts, 38 wins, 30 pole positions and 27 fastest laps so far. No one has come close to his record of winning the championship itself five times, in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
For Ryde, the top Kawasaki rider in fourth place overall after the first three rounds, a first podium since his home-round third in 2015 at Donington Park would be his best result of 2017. He finished fourth in the opening weekend of this year, at Phillip Island in Australia.
Other than his home round of Donington, Assen is the layout Kyle knows better than any other on the current championship trail. Benefitting from the mentoring of KRT rider Jonathan Rea this season Ryde has been flying the flag for his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, and doing so confidently, since the first round in Australia.
Sofuoglu’s championship challenge – a defence of what was his fifth title last season – is also still very much alive despite his early season misfortunes. Many of his main rivals have struggled in the races he has been forced to miss. With ten rounds of the WorldSSP championship remaining Sofuoglu will have plenty of opportunities to score strongly between Assen and the final race weekend of the year, in Qatar in early November.
Kenan Sofuoglu, stated: “I am ready now. Honestly, in Aragon I was not quite ready, because of my injuries. But the good thing is that I got some laps in on my bike, because I lost some winter testing and the first two rounds. So Motorland was like a warm-up for the season. Assen is like a half-home round for me because my wife and her family are from Holland. I am expecting a good weekend and I am happy that the Assen weekend has arrived. The weather can be a question mark for everybody, but it does not matter, because dry or wet I love to be in Assen. My Kawasaki loves Assen too. Hopefully I can make a really good race to make my team happy, my family happy and - of course - I will make myself happy too if I can win in Assen.”
Kyle Ryde, stated: “I think I can be very strong in Assen, mainly because this is the first track of the season that I really know. I have more experience racing there than most other circuits on the calendar. The main thing, the most important day for me, is Friday. I need to be inside the top six after that first day, to make sure I get into Superpole two, and then that should help make everything go smoothly.”
Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) sits 11th after three rounds, tied on points with the rider ranked tenth, but without a podium finish, which keeps him officially one place behind. Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI Kawasaki) is 15th and
Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki 16th approaching Assen. Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing Kawasaki) is just one place behind Calero, in 17th place.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is 22nd overall while Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) is still looking to score his first points of the season.
Part-time ESS rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Jenik Against Cancer Kawasaki) is already on the score sheet after his first race of the year in Spain, in 23rd overall.
Confidence high as CIA Landlord Insurance Honda head to Assen
Posted on 26th April 2017
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda head to the legendary TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands this weekend for Round Four of the 2017 World Supersport Championship.
Confidence is high in the Cluzel squad going into the Acerbis Dutch Round at the historic 4.5km ‘Cathedral of Speed’ after his impressive 4th place finish from 14th on the grid last time out at Motorland Aragon. This points haul puts him firmly back into Championship contention and the Frenchman is determined to get back in the game.
Jules said: “I am happy to be back on my 600. Last time out at Aragon was a difficult weekend but I managed to make a good comeback. We know what the problem was, it was quite clear in Spain but we have a solution for Assen which I am excited to try. I am excited to go there, it looks like we will have some rain but we will be focused and I think this is the time to get back into the Championship.”
Teammate Robin Mulhauser will also arrive at Assen fully focused and hoping to follow up on his top ten qualifying in Spain with a strong finish in Sunday’s 18 lap race. The Swiss rider said: “I can’t wait to race my 600 again, I’m coming fully motivated after a nice podium finish in 24h Le Mans. I hope we will have great weather as Assen is always bad for us… And also I would like to finish the race first and then have a great result too!”
Also heading to Assen on the back of the endurance race at Le Mans will be Japan’s Hikari Okubo and he is eager to translate his 24h experience to World Supersport. Hikari said: “I was feeling good at Aragon but I was not happy with my 11th position in the race so I have been training hard in the UK. I think I can get my best result in Assen.”
Fellow Japanese rider, Hiromichi Kunikawa travels to Assen for the very first time and is excited for the challenge ahead at the iconic Dutch circuit. He said: “All the remaining circuits from here will be the first time for me but I am very excited. My machine is good however I need familiarisation and improvement. We will make efforts to be competitive and I will do my best at Assen step by step.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Team Manager, Simon Buckmaster said: “We are in good shape heading into Assen. We have been testing on the dyno in the gap between races and I believe we have the possibility to improve the bike again. In my opinion we have the fastest rider in Jules and a bike at least as good as anybody else’s so we have the best package. Assen has been very strong for our bike in the past, we have won here in the dry and we have won here in the wet including last year in the rain with Kyle Smith. The riders are in good shape and I know we have to turn our pace into race wins and the best results possible for all our riders. I’m confident we can do that. Assen is one of my favourite races of the year, let’s get there as soon as we can.”
The Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team is ready for Assen, home of the second round of the European Superstock 1000 Championship
After taking advantage of a wild-card to compete in the opening round of the Italian Superbike Championship last weekend at Imola – where Michael Ruben Rinaldi finished in third and second position Race 1 and 2 respectively – the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team is ready to travel to Assen (Netherlands) for the second round of the European Superstock 1000 Championship.
Rinaldi, who won at Aragon while also taking pole position and new lap record, is keen to defend the championship lead on a track where he took a solid third place in wet conditions last year. Rookie Mike Jones, on the other hand, only raced in Assen once in 2013 in the 600cc class, but set his eyes on the podium nonetheless given the data collected at Imola, where he further tailored the electronics and chassis of the Panigale R to his needs.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #12)
“After Aragon, where we were really competitive, we took advantage of a wild-card at Imola with positive results, even though our primary goal was to properly prepare our upcoming home round. We’ve been on a good roll lately, and I find myself at ease with both the team and the bike. The Dutch weather is always unpredictable, but we know we have the potential to score another good result and we aim at taking as many points as possible, without worrying about the standings too much because it’d be counterproductive at this early stage. We need to put our heads down to work and stay focused”.
Mike Jones (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #57)
“The only time I raced at Assen dates back to 2013 on a 600cc bike, but my confidence is growing after each session on track and I want to keep working to improve my riding and the overall feeling with the bike. The podium is the goal, but it’s going to be a challenge since it’s virtually a new track for me. To this end, Imola was a big weekend for us as I was able to learn more things about the bike. In particular, we’ve made a good step forward with the engine brake and I hope to take advantage of that in Assen as well. Weather conditions are usually tricky there, it’s hard to make the right decisions at the right time, but everyone is on the same boat and personally I can count on an very experienced and professional team, so that’s a big help”.
Yamaha Gear Up for European STK1000 Round Two in Assen
The Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team riders Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini arrive in Assen this weekend for round two of the Superstock 1000 FIM European Championship at the famous TT circuit.
Marino comes to Assen in confident and upbeat mood having wrapped up the first race of the season in Aragón on the pace. The young Frenchman flew to a well-deserved second place finish in Spain to get his championship quest underway in the best way possible. The Assen round will be one he will be keen to contest in full, delivering on his clear potential with the YZF-R1M after last years season halting injury in Assen qualifying.
Teammate Tamburini prepares to contest the Dutch round similarly matched to Marino in pace and potential. The Italian wrapped up the opening round of the season in Aragon with a third place podium to make it a double Yamaha STK1000 appearance in the Spanish parc ferme. The two sit second and third in the championship following their first race form, with everything to play for on the fast and sweeping TT circuit.
"After a difficult season last year I was really happy to finish the first race of the season in Aragon with no problems and a good result. The bike is working really well and the team also so a second place podium is a good way to begin. Now we come to Assen, which was not a great place for me last year. I'm confident this season will be different and I will be able to show what I am capable of here with the YZF-R1M."
Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team
"I'm really excited to begin on Friday and ride again. The first race of the year went very well for us in Spain, so it was tough to have to wait for three weeks to have to ride again! I'm feeling really good with the Yamaha and I think we can also be strong in Assen s I can't wait to begin."
WorldSSP300: What can Deroue do in front of his home fans?
Young meets the old in The Netherlands
Following the sensational debut race for the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at the Pirelli Aragon Round, the 35 youngsters head to the legendary TT Circuit Assen – some for the first time – to see what drama can unfold for Round Two.
Scott Deroue (MTM HS Kawasaki) leads the championship following his win in the opening round, and will be looking to impress in front of his home fans. However this won’t stop the rest of the field who are keen to make their first step onto that all important podium. The swooping 4.5km circuit is the perfect setting for the WorldSSP300 machines, as the tight turns and high speed corners will produce thrilling racing which will no doubt go down to the last lap, and with 35 adrenaline fuelled riders hurtling into the infamous Gert Timmer chicane, all bets are off.
Scott Deroue made history around MotorLand Aragon, taking the first ever pole position and victory in the WorldSSP300 class, and showed true pace and skill aboard his Kawasaki. Leading the way from the opening lap, the 21 year old was up against some stiff competition and weather conditions throughout the 13 lap race. Taking the fight to the final corner he crafted a perfect last lap, securing the victory out of the final corner. Hailing from the city of Nijkerkerveen which is just over an hour away from the legendary circuit, Deroue will have some strong home support at the Acerbis Dutch Round.
Young Spaniard Daniel Valle (Halcourier Racing) impressed in the Pirelli Aragon Round, and is already hungry for more as he sets his sights on the victory in round two. 17 year old Valle has limited experience in the racing world however with the skills shown in the stunning battle at the debut round, you would be fooled. With the support of the Yamaha YZF-R3, Valle will have a strong base around Assen, which has a strong history with the Japanese manufacturer.
On one of just three Honda CBR500R machines, Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays) caused a stir around MotorLand Aragon, fighting for the victory until the final lap in front of his home fans. The reigning European Junior Cup champion has a strong experience racing through tight fields, and finished on the podium around Assen in 2016; with background knowledge of all the circuits on the WorldSSP300 calendar, he will be one to watch out for in The Netherlands.
Borja Sanchez (Halcourier Racing) sits in fourth position in the championship and was another rider to impress in the opening round in Spain, despite missing out on securing a debut podium finish. With history in the CEV Repsol Moto3 class, Sanchez will be able to build on his previous pace and make another step towards taking the top three, but he will have some stiff competition.
We are yet to see the full potential of Mytyta Kalinin (Team MOTOXRACING), as the Ukranian rider crashed out of the Pirelli Aragon Round after fighting up for the victory. Qualifying on the front row, the 18 year old clearly has a strong pace on his Yamaha machine and it will be interesting to see how he can perform across the full race distance. Again on a bike which Assen has been kind to in the past, Kalinin will be looking to put his demons to bed early on in the season, with the hope of creeping up the championship table.
Ana Carrasco (ETG Racing) suffered a tough debut weekend last time out, but was able to take a top ten finish away with her following a steady start. Bringing her knowledge of the Dutch circuit, the 19 year old will hope to be up and fighting for podiums at the Acerbis Dutch Round.
Keep up with all WorldSSP300 news, reactions and previews ahead of the second round of the series as it takes on its inaugural season within the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, by signing up to the WorldSBK VideoPass.
STK1000: Rinaldi heads to The Netherlands with the target on his back
The fight is to stop the dominance at iconic track
MotorLand Aragon treated fans to the opening round of the European Superstock 1000 Championship, and it didn’t take long for us to establish who will be the riders to beat in 2017. Despite the unpredictable nature of the championship, dominance was the theme in Spain. In such a close-fought championship, the flowing character of the TT Circuit Assen will no doubt provide some stunning racing action.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) leads the championship standings heading into the second round of the season, following a stunning display of dominance to open the season with. The Italian started the season on the best possible foot with his Ducati Panigale R, and now the paddock heads to Assen – where Rinaldi has a podium finishing history. The 21 year old will certainly be the rider with the target on his back in The Netherlands.
The Italian will be facing some stiff competition from Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) and team-mate Roberto Tamburini (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team), around a circuit which is notoriously favourable to the YZF-R1. The duo completed the podium in MotorLand after a lonely race for the pair, however a strong Sunday saw them improve on their pace from qualifying as they started from the second row.
Protégé of his compatriot Kenan Sofuoglu, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be hoping to emulate his success of 2015 when he took the victory in the European Superstock 600 series. Taking a top four finish in the opening race of 2017, the young Turk will be a talent to keep an eye on as we delve further into the season.
Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team) brings experience with him into the STK1000 Championship this year, and with a top five pace already the Italian is keen to improve. Looking to work through shoulder pain he is suffering with from a previous injury, a break will have helped Faccani. At a circuit that hasn’t been overly kind to the 21 year old in the past, will he be able to keep up his top five pace?
Lone Dutch rider in the STK1000 Championship, Wayne Tessels (Agro On-Benjan-Kawasaki) will have the home crowd support behind him and as we have seen at both Assen and in STK1000 – anything can happen.
Producing some phenomenal racing action, follow the European Superstock 1000 Championship with the WorldSBK VideoPass. Look back over past seasons or remind yourself of how the opening race of the season played out.
Did you know? #DutchWorldSBK in Numbers
As WorldSBK takes to the Cathedral take a look at some of the records held around the Dutch track
MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the iconic circuit of the TT Circuit Assen in The Netherlands, which has produced some stunning racing in the past. Remind yourself of some thrilling battles with our facts and stats, as well as the WorldSBK VideoPass.
50 – Assen is second only to Phillip Island for WorldSBK races run - 53 to 50.
26 – British riders have won more than a half of the races run in Assen: 26 out of 50.
19 - No less than 19 different riders have won a WorldSBK race at Assen. Two of them are World Champions past and present of the 2017 field: Rea and Sykes. Interestingly, former double World Champion Troy Corser is not among the aforementioned 19, despite having run 30 races here and finishing on the podium 7 times.
12 – Carl Fogarty recorded the record at Assen for most races won at the same venue: the Brit won 12 times out of 16.
8 – Carl Fogarty won 8 straight races here: each one from 1993 to 1996. Jonathan Rea is following in the path of his compatriot, having won the last 5 held here.
6 – Kawasaki can become the first manufacturer with 6 straight poles in Assen. At the moment they share their string of five with Ducati (1992-1996).
4 – Tom Sykes holds the record for Assen poles: 4. Troy Corser (1995, 1999, 2006) and Frankie Chili (1998, 2003, 2004) are his nearest rivals.
2 – Only two riders managed to record their maiden win in Assen: Chris Walker (2006) and Sylvain Guintoli (2012).
Fan favourite Assen to bring even more excitement
Keep up with everything going on around the track at #DutchWorldSBK
Anticipation is building as the paddock heads to the iconic TT Circuit Assen for the fourth round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, and fans are set to be treated to an all-round sensational weekend with free paddock access for all.
As home hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) sets his sights on getting a taste of the Prosecco, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) hopes to continue on his unstoppable run - both at the Dutch Circuit and in 2017 - and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) will hope to stop him, the on track action won’t be short of drama.
Heading over to celebrate racing action at the Dutch WorldSBK? Take a look at what will be on offer for you to while away the hours when the world´s fastest production-based motorcycles aren’t on track.
As always, the WorldSBK Paddock Show provides pure excitement across all three days, and the Acerbis Dutch Round will be no exception. Friday kicks off with local rider’s chat shows from STK1000, WorldSSP and WorldSSP300, as well as some amazing competitions for fans to take part in; rounded off with the traditional Opening Day Show.
With the busiest day out on track greeting riders on Saturday, the Paddock Show certainly doesn’t slow down; with all sessions shown live on stage with commentary and special guests before the chance to greet the riders begins from 16.00h. Find out the inside story from riders finishing in the top six in each class, as well the local heroes out on track with the new SuperShow – complete with autograph sessions which mean you can meet your heroes.
Sunday welcomes more competitions, autograph sessions and more racing action. Meet the riders you have seen battling in WorldSSP300 and STK1000 from 10.45h, before the main event gets underway at 11.30. Then, round off an incredible weekend with the Race Show’s, providing access to all riders who finished in the top three around TT Circuit Assen.
Fans will be treated to the opportunity for a free pit walk experience on Saturday, providing them with the chance to see Pit Lane up close and personal with the opportunity to see their heroes. With free access to all with a valid ticket, all you need to do is meet at the Paddock Show and the access will be granted. Running from 15.45-16.30hLT, it’s the perfect amount of time to feel the essence of the heart of the action at TT Circuit Assen.
With free parking on offer, as well as the chance to camp at the circuit itself fans will be able to be fully engulfed in WorldSBK action and with the Fan Zone in the paddock from Friday, there will never be a boring moment at the Dutch WorldSBK. With race simulators, a classic bike exhibition, Expo Area, custom bikes and the chance to buy all the merchandise so you look the part, be sure to head over to the WorldSBK Fan Zone.