2018 Assen WorldSBK Preview Press Releases

Press releases previewing the upcoming Dutch round of WorldSBK at Assen:


Home heroes and history makers: Assen Awaits
There’s magic in the air as WorldSBK heads to The Netherlands

Straight off the back of MotorLand Aragon, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship heads to the iconic TT Circuit Assen for the fourth round of the season, with no time to rest. As the European season is well and truly underway in 2018, 18 points split the top three in the standings and for the first time in history three riders have two wins each after the first three race weekends. There will be plenty out with a point to prove in The Netherlands; Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) will look at continuing his string of seven consecutive victories around Assen, whilst Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) searches home glory.

Undeniably a favorite circuit of our three time world Champion, TT Circuit Assen has been a happy hunting ground for Jonathan Rea in recent years. Taking seven consecutive wins, and 11 overall, the British rider is the man to beat around the 4.5km track. Continuing to work on the set-up of his ZX-10RR alongside the new regulations, the 31 year old has faced some tough challenges in the opening rounds but continues to lead the world championship standings by 12 points. Winning two out of the opening six races so far, Rea will be hoping to take his first double of the season.

Sitting in second position of the world championship standings, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) took home the same amount of points as Rea last time out, as well as taking his seventh victory around MotorLand. With 12 race starts around ‘The Cathedral’, Davies has taken four podiums, all of which came with Ducati. Suffering some bad luck in Saturday’s race one here last season, the British rider has the pace here and will be coming with added confidence from MotorLand.

Top independent rider Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) continues to impress onboard his Panigale, as the Spanish rider sits in fourth position overall in the standings. Following some stunning performances throughout the opening rounds which has seen Fores secure his best result in the series, with a second position in Thailand’s race one. Fighting for the lead on more than one occasion, he now heads to Assen which has been a tough track for him in the past. Fourth position in race one last year has been his best result, however with a new confidence and fast pace, he will be hard to rule out.

The man all the crowd will want a piece of this weekend, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) heads to his home circuit full of determination to take the victory. Coming close in his six appearances so far, it has been all or nothing for the 25 year old as he’s taken three third positions and two DNF’s. Building his confidence with the YZF-R1 throughout 2018, and coming off the back of a podium in Thailand, van der Mark will be hoping to replicate his WorldSSP victory here in 2014.

Making his WorldSBK debut around TT Circuit Assen, Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) is preparing for another challenging weekend as he continues to learn to his Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2 machine. Not yet breaking into the top 10 in 2018, the American rider will be hoping the popular TT Circuit Assen will be one which sees him make the break into the top ten. Heading to his team’s home circuit, Gagne has experience around the circuit from his time in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, which will no doubt put him in a strong position heading into the weekend.

Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) will once again be joined by Davide Giugliano this weekend as Eugene Laverty remains sidelined with injury. Italian Savadori has a strong history around the Dutch circuit, taking three top six finishes in his WorldSBK appearances so far. Continuing to bounce back from his injury sustained in Australia, the Italian will be hoping to make up some good points from these back to back races. Not forgetting his strong history here in the STK1000 championship, Savadori will be hoping to make another step with the Aprilia this weekend.

As he continues on his journey on the return to WorldSBK, Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) heads back to the iconic circuit which holds a lot of history for the Frenchman. Taking a podium here in 2013 with Kawasaki in WorldSBK, he also took his best 2017 MotoGP™ result here with a top eight finish. Taking points from every race so far in 2018, he will be hoping to become a more regular top ten finisher as the season well and truly gets underway.

MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s lone rider Jordi Torres took stock from a solid race two around MotorLand Aragon, as the Spanish rider is searching for a stronger pace with his new team. Involved in two big crashes at both Buriram and MotorLand, it has been a tough start to the season for Torres but he remains positive and looks ahead to a circuit which has treated him well in the past – taking four top seven finishes since 2015 here.

On track action in the MOTUL Dutch round begins on Friday 20th April, with WorldSBK FP1 at 09:45LT. Racing action gets underway at 13:00LT on Saturday ahead of lights out on Sunday at 13:00LT.


Rea And Sykes All Set For Assen Round

Just a few days after the completion of the most recent WorldSBK contest in Spain KRT riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes have an important appointment at another round, Assen in the Netherlands, this coming weekend. Rea has won two races so far in 2018 while Sykes looks to Assen to get his win tally off the mark.

With a race one victory in Motorland Aragon last Saturday Rea has now grown his total of career race wins to 56, just a few shy of the absolute record of four-times champion Carl Fogarty, who has 59. This season Rea is aiming for his fourth WorldSBK championship crown, having already made history with his third successive riders’ title for Kawasaki in 2017.

Sykes has shown some real pace in 2018, taking pole position in Australia and scoring a strong second place in the opening race of the year. Now working out how to get back to his absolute podium and race winning best after a tough Motorland Aragon experience, Sykes is focusing on the fourth round of the season at Assen.

Sykes is also chasing records, however, as he needs just one more Superpole success to extend his currently shared all-time total of a 43 Superpole wins to 44 and become the greatest ever in his own right in this specialist discipline.

Currently Jonathan leads the championship by 12 points, with Tom in seventh place.

After experiencing the fast straight and undulations of the Motorland circuit, Assen offers a different challenge to both Tom and Jonathan. Still featuring banked corners in some areas, the historic yet much modified Assen circuit still offers some unique sequences of corners, particularly in the final section.

The famous and sometimes infamous last chicane has been the critical backdrop in many would-be Assen race winners’ eventual fortunes. Rea has won no less than 11 races at Assen, and six in a row for Kawasaki. Sykes has also won in the Netherlands, taking race one for Kawasaki at Assen in 2013.

The next round of competition for the KRT duo after Assen will take place in Italy at Imola, with two races scheduled for Saturday 21st and Sunday, 22nd of May.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I really enjoy Assen and in the past it has been really nice to me. I spent a lot of time there with my previous team and it is a cool track. The weather forecast is hot. It is a really flowing track. I am looking forward to it, and it provides good racing. It tends to be a group of riders together, three or four, all race. I have done a lot of laps there, racing and testing and I also know some special tricks for the last lap.”

Tom Sykes, stated: “I am disappointed with the results in Motorland but I am not done yet and it is only a few days until we are in Assen. Both Jonathan and I have had some good races there. Assen is a circuit I enjoy so hopefully we can put the package together there and pick up where we need to. We will regroup at Assen, and it is a circuit where we have been very strong in the past.”


The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team ready for the action at Assen, home of the fourth round of the WorldSBK championship

After taking a brilliant win and two more podiums at Aragon (Spain) last weekend, the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team is ready to take it back to the track at Assen (Netherlands) for the fourth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship.

Both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri are keen to take home their first win on the historic TT Circuit, where they both already stepped on the podium with the Panigale R, the Welshman four times and the Italian once. Michael Ruben Rinaldi, who took two podiums in the Superstock 1000 class with Ducati at Assen, will also return to the track with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team.

After three rounds, Davies and Melandri are respectively 2nd (102 points) and 3rd (96 points) in the championship, while Rinaldi is 14th (17 points). The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action on Friday at 09:45 local time (CET) for the first free-practice session.

Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7)

"I feel really confident going into Round 4, even though historically Assen hasn't been our most favorable track. We've improved our setup and pace there over the years, getting closer and closer to the goal, and we basically know what we need. Our package is dialed pretty well and there's a lot to look forward to. I think it's going to be another great battle and I can't wait to get started."

Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33)

"I always enjoyed riding at Assen, both in the classic and new layout. I still haven't won there in Superbike, and the goal is to rewrite that statistic. To do that, we need to keep working hard to improve stability. We've made steps forward at Aragon, but we still need to work to be more consistent and attack throughout the race. Physically I feel great, so I can't wait to get back on my bike."

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21)

"After a positive debut at Aragon, we go to Assen with a bit more experience, which we'll try to make the most of. We'll work hard, especially for the second half of the race, to get even closer to the top riders. I really like the track and I can't wait to ride on it with the SBK-spec Panigale R."


Pata Yamaha Aiming for Podium Return in Assen

Setup

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team are looking to step back on to the rostrum at Round 4 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend in Assen, fresh from a solid points-haul at last weekend's Motorland Aragon event, part of the only back-to-back races of the season. Alex Lowes battled hard throughout the weekend in Spain to secure a seventh and a fourth-place finish that sees him fifth in the overall championship standings after six races. The podium finisher in Buriram really enjoys the historic TT Circuit Assen, as it is a fast and flowing track that suits his riding style and usually delivers some excellent racing action. For his teammate Michael van der Mark - who is sixth in the championship standings, just three points behind his teammate - it is always a special occasion racing at his home round. Having secured a superb second-place finish in Race 2 at Buriram, he followed that up with a double top-five finish in Aragon and is hoping to build on the pace he has shown at each round this season to battle for the podium in front of the Dutch fans.

Lowes comes into the race weekend at Assen on the back of his best-ever start to a WorldSBK season, having taken 70 points from the first three rounds in 2018, with his undoubted pace now matched by excellent consistency. The 27-year-old British rider demonstrated this with two hard-fought and mature rides at Aragon where, once again, he maximised his potential, banking 22 championship points despite not having the perfect setup with his Pata Yamaha R1. A DNF in Race 1 at Assen in 2017 saw him mount a stunning charge from 15th on the grid to cross the line in fifth in Race 2. The 2013 British Superbike Champion has previous form at the historic TT Circuit Assen after recording his maiden WorldSBK podium at the track during his debut season in 2014. Lowes has not finished outside of the top seven all season and wants to build on this consistency with a return to the podium at a track that rewards bravery and suits his riding style.

To race in front of the passionate Dutch fans at the TT Circuit Assen is always a memorable occasion for Michael van der Mark, and after another strong weekend in Aragon where he returned two fifth-place finishes, he feels there is more to come at his home round. The 25-year-old also recorded a DNF in Race 1 at Assen last season but he bounced back in sensational style in Race 2, thrilling the home fans by fighting his way through the field from the middle of the fourth row to battle for the podium before finishing in fourth. He has an excellent record at the TT Circuit Assen, including a victory in WorldSSP and three WorldSBK podiums to his name, and a return to the rostrum at the track is his target in 2018. The 2014 WorldSSP Champion has enjoyed a strong start to the year and sits sixth in the championship standings with 67 points, 18 more than he had at the same stage in 2017, highlighting the improvements he and the team have made in their second season together.

The Assen TT Circuit is located to the northeast of The Netherlands - approximately 170km from Amsterdam - and remains a firm favourite amongst the WorldSBK Championship's riders and fans alike. Its high-octane nature mixes 18 corners with a longest straight of just 300m, usually providing breathtaking and thrilling racing around its 4.542km clockwise layout, with the final chicane the scene of many memorable last-lap battles. The legendary racing venue - known as 'The Cathedral' of motorcycle racing - first hosted a race back in 1925 and has been a permanent fixture on the WorldSBK calendar since 1992.

The Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team will hit the track for Free Practice 1 on Friday at 9:45 am (CEST) local time, while qualifying is due to start at 10:30 am on Saturday ahead of Race 1 at 1:00 pm, with Sunday's Race 2 also scheduled for 1:00 pm.

Alex Lowes

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 5th - 70 points

"The TT Circuit Assen is a place I always enjoy going to and riding. The Dutch fans are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate that you get to race in front of the whole season. The track itself is a lot of fun to ride, especially the really fast and flowing second half, which really suits my style and the R1. It is always a big weekend in Assen, with lots of extra pressure on Michael at his home round just as I always feel in the UK but, if anything, this just motivates us more and I am looking forward to a strong weekend for me and the whole Pata Yamaha team."

Michael van der Mark

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 6th - 67 points

"I really can't wait for my home round because it is always a special race for me, getting to ride in front of the Dutch fans, and it looks like the weather will be great too. I have a good history at the TT Circuit Assen and really enjoy riding here, so I hope to reward the fans and team with a good performance. The base feeling I have with my Yamaha R1 is good so hopefully, we can make another step in Assen and build on the pace we have shown so far this season to fight for the podium!"


Gagne to lead the charge for Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team at Assen

Dutch Round

TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands

The fast and famous TT Circuit Assen hosts round four of the 2018 WorldSBK season this weekend where Jake Gagne will lead the charge for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team at their home race.

Coming off the back of his best race weekend at Aragon, Gagne will be the sole rider for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team as Leon Camier recovers from injuries sustained in an incident in Race 1 at Aragon. The Assen round is very much the home event for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team, who are based in Nieuwleusen in the Netherlands – just a short drive from the Assen circuit.

For Gagne, Assen is one of the venues on the WorldSBK calendar where he has enjoyed previous success, with the American rider winning a Red Bull Rookies race at the 4.5 kilometre long circuit in 2010. More recent experience came in the form of a private test at the circuit with the team last month, meaning Gagne is well prepared heading into the weekend.

The first session of the Assen WorldSBK round, Free Practice 1 starts at 0945 local time (GMT +2) with the two races taking place at 1300 local time on Saturday and Sunday. The current weather forecast suggest fine and warm weather for the entire race weekend.

Jake Gagne 45

I'm really excited to get started in Assen, its nice to just have a few days off between races so me and the team can get straight back to work and continue the progress we made in Spain with the CBR1000RR and keep pushing towards the top ten. I got to ride the track a few weeks ago during our test so this will help us get in the zone quickly. It's going to be a bummer not having Leon with us this weekend, I really hope he gets well soon and I'll do my best to make him and the team proud.

- Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team

Kervin Bos

Team Manager

Back-to-back races are always a busy time but we're all looking forward to our home race at Assen. I think for Jake Assen could be his strongest round of the year as he is coming off a positive result at Aragon, he has had success at the circuit before and he also had the chance to ride the track on a Fireblade a few weeks ago. It's a shame we will be at our home round with only one rider, however I've been in communication with Leon and he's in a good frame of mind and we look forward to welcoming him back as soon as he has completed his recovery. For now, we will put all our efforts behind Jake and go for the best possible result.


Gulf Althea BMW travels from Spain to The Netherlands

Rome (Italy), Tuesday 17 April 2018

Despite the third round of the 2018 Superbike World Championship having only concluded two days ago at Motorland Aragón, the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team is already back on the road, travelling to The Netherlands and the TT Circuit in Assen, where round four of the series is set to take place this coming weekend.

Taking on two consecutive rounds is always a challenge for teams and riders, but the Italian team, along with its riders Loris Baz and Alessandro Delbianco, is well organised and used to dealing with the logistics involved.

On track in Spain just a few days ago, Baz concluded the two Superbike races in eleventh and fifteenth place, while Delbianco unfortunately crashed out of what was his first Stock1000 race. The Assen circuit will be a brand new one for the young Italian rookie, while the Frenchman last raced a Superbike at Assen in 2014, crossing the line fourth and seventh in the weekend's two races.

Three rounds into this year’s championship and Baz is lying tenth in the standings with 27 points, while Delbianco is still to score points, just one round in to his first Stock1000 season.

Loris Baz

"Everyone appears to have taken such a big step since last year, so we will try our hardest to make further progress at Assen. It’s important to get straight through to Superpole2, so that we’re not starting too far back on the grid. I want to be fighting in the top ten and will do my best to be there in this weekend’s Dutch races.”

Alessandro Delbianco

“At Assen, I’ll be doing my best to make up for what happened at Aragon, even though I don’t know the track. This will make things a little more complicated than at Aragon but I’m even keener now that I have a better idea as to my potential after the first round. I’m feeling more confident as we head into round 2, I can’t wait to get back on the bike.”



#DutchWorldSBK: Manufacturers profiles from The Netherlands

Read about who has succeeded and who has had a tough time at TT Circuit Assen

Aprilia have won twice at Assen, with Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) in Race 2, 2013 and with Sylvain Guintoli in Race 1, 2014: that was their last podium finish here. Last year the best Aprilia result was a 5th place by Savadori in Race 1. Savadori had also been the fastest Aprilia rider in 2016, in both races (6th and 4th).

The best result for BMW at Assen was recorded by Marco Melandri in the first 2012 Race: 4th. Last year Jordi Torres was able to take BMW into the top-10 with a 7th place finish in Race 2.

Ducati have 72 podiums to their name at Assen: the second-highest total in history behind the 77 also scored by Ducati at Misano. Their wins tally is equally impressive: 25, again second only to their Misano total of 29. Ducati haven’t able to win here in the last five years/eleven races, making this their worst drought at the Dutch track. The last win for Ducati here came in 2012, Race 2: in that race they locked out the podium with Sylvain Guintoli in 1st, Davide Giugliano in 2nd and Carlos Checa in 3rd. Last year Melandri and Davies recorded two third places in Race 1 and Race 2 respectively – behind the Kawasaki duo of Rea and Sykes in both cases.

Honda have won here 15 times, a record second only to Ducati (25): their last five wins came in the 2010-2014 period thanks to Jonathan Rea. In 2015 and 2016 they were also able to climb onto the podium, without the current world champion, racking up four third places. Last year their best results were a 6th by Stefan Bradl in Race 1 and a 9th by Nicky Hayden in Race 2.

The combined performances of Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in qualifying and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) the races have made Kawasaki an unbeatable machine in Assen. They have won the last 6 races held here, and recorded pole in the last 6 race weekends – which are both record streaks at this track.

Yamaha have won twice at Assen: Noriyuki Haga claimed Race 2 in 2000 and Ben Spies won from pole the first one in 2009. James Toseland was the last Yamaha rider on the podium here with second and third place finishes in the 2010 races. Last year the first race was a nightmare for Yamaha, as none of their riders made it to the flag, while in Race 2 Van der Mark and Lowes were just off the podium in 4th and 5th.

Thanks to Leon Camier, MV Agusta have been able to score points in all the races held here in the last three years: their best result is a fourth place, in Race 1, 2016.


WorldSSP: Sparks are set to fly

Blue bikes are the target in Assen

As the FIM Supersport World Championship heads to TT Circuit Assen, they have a big challenge ahead with no time to rest on their laurels after Round Three at MotorLand Aragon. With three different winners across three different races, there is nothing to split the front runners of one of the most competitive classes of the series. Assen is an iconic circuit which provides stunning racing, and with the fast and flowing nature of the track there will be sparks flying in The Netherlands.

Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) continues to lead the way in the championship standings despite a tough weekend in Spain which saw the reigning world champion disappointed to leave with a top four position. With two appearances around Assen in WorldSSP, the French rider took second here last season as his title charge really began to take shape. With the bike to beat underneath him, he will be back fighting this weekend.

Rookie to the class, Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) stunned the crowds at MotorLand as he secured his debut victory, dominating the second half of the race. Finding his feet in the series came easy for the German, but now he must continue with consistency to stay up in the fight. Taking on another track he is familiar with, and has won around in the past, his confidence and pace will take some beating in The Netherlands.

Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) has impressed in the opening rounds, so much so that he sits in the top five in the championship standings after a strong result in Spain. Following a tough few seasons on board the Triumph machine, his recent results at Phillip Island and MotorLand are proving the British rider has the pace to impress. Taking a top ten here last season, he could be an interesting rider to watch.

Continuing to find his pace with the Honda CBR600RR, Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) is seventh in the championship standings as we head into Round Four of the series, but he is yet to shine with his new team. A podium contender last season, the Young Finnish rider has the pace but is struggling to transfer it to his new team. With tough memories of TT Circuit Assen from last season, he will be working hard to leave with a smile on his face.

Flying the flag for MV Agusta in the series, Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag), is getting himself accustomed once again with the series following a year in WorldSBK. Following a tough start so far, the Italian is looking to improve his pace as the European season well and truly begins for the riders. With a tough battle out on track, and the Yamaha’s the bikes to beat, he will relish the challenge ahead of him.

Australian fan favourite Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing) is the leading Kawasaki machine in the world championship standings, after three solid races to start his season. With a full time ride acquired for the season ahead, he is pleased to have a strong team around him as he hunts down rostrum glory. A tough history in The Netherlands won’t put this Australian off from heading out on track and aiming for the best.

Follow all the WorldSSP action throughout the weekend as everything leads to the lights out, at 11.30LT on Sunday.


GRT Yamaha Hunting for Victory in Assen

Setup

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team are looking to return to winning ways in Assen at Round 4 of the 2018 FIM Supersport World Championship this weekend, just one week after Lucas Mahias took the outright lead in the standings at Motorland Aragon. The reigning WorldSSP Champion crossed the line in fourth-place at the last round, missing out on the podium for the first time this season, and is looking to come out fighting at the TT Circuit Assen. His teammate Federico Caricasulo has had a great start to 2018, recording two podiums in the last two races. He currently sits fourth in the Championship standings, just nine points behind his teammate, and after fighting for the victory in Aragon before securing second, the young Italian is hoping to be battling at the front once more in Assen. European Supersport Cup rider Alfonso Coppola is looking to bounce back from an unlucky DNF in during the race in Aragon and build on the potential he displayed on his debut.

Reigning WorldSSP Champion Mahias leads the 2018 standings with 58 points from the first three races, 13 more than he had at the same point last season when he went on to lift the title, showcasing how well he is gelling with his team in his second year with them. Victory at the opening round in Phillip Island was followed up by second in Buriram, where he just missed out on the race win by 0.048s. He followed these performances up with a strong ride in Aragon to fourth to take the outright championship lead after three rounds, despite not being able to find the perfect setup with his R6 during the weekend due to the changeable weather conditions affecting his track time during practice.

The forecast for Assen looks much better, so the 29-year-old French rider is hoping to rediscover his usual feeling with his Yamaha during practice around a track that he enjoys racing at and that should suit the characteristics of the R6. The man from Mont-de-Marsan came out on top in an incredible battle for second in the 2017 WorldSSP race at Assen by just 0.005s in a dramatic photo finish. Despite only having a few days turnaround since Aragon, Mahias has been working hard with his GRT Yamaha team to ensure that he can hit the ground running on Friday in Assen to give him the best chance of fighting for victory on Sunday.

His teammate Caricasulo has enjoyed a sensational start to the 2018 WorldSSP season. Following a fourth-place finish at Phillip Island, the 22-year-old rode to third in Buriram and then was battling for the victory in Aragon before securing a superb second-place finish. Fourth in the Championship standings with 49 points after three races, the talented young rider has added consistency to his already impressive pace in 2018, demonstrated by the fact that at this stage last year he had only accumulated 25 points. Now just nine points behind his teammate at the top of the standings, Caricasulo is looking to continue this upward trend and go one better in Assen by taking victory and firmly establishing himself as a genuine title contender. In last season's race he was also involved in the battle for the podium before crossing the line in sixth, but with the pace he has shown in 2018, just like his teammate, he heads to Assen hunting for victory.

Alfonso Coppola made his European Supersport Cup debut in Aragon, impressing in practice and qualifying as the 20-year-old Italian demonstrated the potential that saw him crowned the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner last season and finish as runner-up in the overall WorldSSP300 Championship. He, unfortunately, crashed through no fault on his own during the race and, after bravely remounting his Yamaha R6 and trying to finish the race, he was forced to retire. Coppola is now looking to build on the promise he showed in Aragon and transform it into a point-scoring ride come Sunday in Assen.

The Assen TT Circuit is located to the northeast of The Netherlands - approximately 170km from Amsterdam - and remains a firm favourite amongst the WorldSBK Championship's riders and fans alike. Its high-octane nature mixes 18 corners with a longest straight of just 300m, usually providing breathtaking and thrilling racing around its 4.542km clockwise layout, with the final chicane the scene of many memorable last-lap battles. The legendary racing venue - known as 'The Cathedral' of motorcycle racing - first hosted a race back in 1925 and has been a permanent fixture on the WorldSBK calendar since 1992.

The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team begin at the TT Circuit Assen with Free Practice 1 on Friday morning at 10:40 am (CEST) local time. Qualifying is from 2:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday's race is at 11:30 am.

Lucas Mahias - GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team 2018

Lucas Mahias

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 1st - 58 points

"I like the Assen track because it has a high-speed layout that suits my style. I am very determined to get back to fighting for the race win after not being able to find my normally good feeling with my R6 in Aragon. I have worked hard with the team to try and understand the problem, so I want to thank them for all of their hard work and I hope to come back to the podium in Assen because in Aragon it was a difficult race for me. Last year I finished in second at Assen and normally I am fast around the circuit, so I will try to make sure I learn from Aragon and push for the best result possible."

Federico Caricasulo

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 49 points

"I have had a good start to the season but, as always, I want to keep improving. My feeling with my R6 and GRT Yamaha team is great at the moment. We have kept on working hard to make sure we are always trying to improve in every session, and at every round. I really enjoy riding at Assen and after the results I have achieved so far this year, my aim is to fight for the victory on Sunday!"

Alfonso Coppola

GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team

"I'm glad there have only been a few days between the races because it gives me a chance to redeem myself and bounce back quickly from my DNF in Aragon. I really like the Assen track as it is fast, flowing, and smooth, which really suits my riding style. I improved in every session on Friday and Saturday at Aragon and I want to continue this progress. I am always learning from the team and I cannot wait to get back on track. Since Aragon, I have been training hard and I am really looking forward to getting to ride the Yamaha R6 around the Assen circuit!"

Filippo Conti

GRT Yamaha Offical WorldSSP Team Manager

"Assen is a very important weekend coming as it does so soon after the last round, with it crucial to leave Assen with the best results possible. At Aragon, we had a strong weekend and left with Lucas leading the championship, but we feel there is a lot more to come. Federico had another great weekend at the last round and rode superbly in the race to secure his second podium in a row. We want to continue this impressive form at Assen, where we feel he can fight for the victory alongside his teammate. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite find the right set up for Lucas in Aragon after we lost most of FP1 due to rain and we have been working a lot since the race to understand what happened and give him back the confidence he normally enjoys with his R6. It is great to have both riders fighting for the victory and also involved in the battle for the championship and it shows how much effort the whole team has put in. Alfonso was really unlucky in Aragon. He showed good potential in practice and qualifying and improved his time a lot, but then was unlucky to crash out of the race through no fault of his own. Our aim is to now build on the positives from Aragon and give him the bike he needs to showcase his full potential."


Assen Opportunities For Okubo And Morais

Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will once more team up with Sheridan Morais to take on the second FIM Supersport World Championship race within a week, at Assen in the Netherlands. During round four of the championship, between 20th and 22nd April, Morais will once more compete as a replacement for the injured regular team rider Kenan Sofuoglu.

Okubo is a new regular signing for the Kawasaki Puccetti team this year and has shown real pace, even if his two most recent races have seen misfortune prevent him from securing strong points finishes. He has qualified inside the top ten in every race so far in 2018.

Hikari sits 23rd in the championship after scoring two points in the first round of the year, but has had the pace for the top ten in the most recent two races. At Assen his aim is to match the final result on Sunday 22nd April to the real potential he has shown since he joined the team.

One of the most experienced all-round riders there is, Morais has grabbed the opportunity presented to him for the Motorland and Assen races with both hands. He scored a fine seventh, having been on course for fifth place, at the previous round in Spain last weekend.

Only a lack of recent race fitness stopped him from maintaining his top five pace at Motorland, but Morais sees even greater opportunities for both man and machine at Assen. He has raced at the legendary Dutch circuit twice before in WorldSSP, and also in other classes. After just one race Morais is 14th in the championship standings.

Featuring everything from slow hairpins to curves taken at almost full speed, from some banked sections that have been in place for decades to areas where use of the slipstreaming is king, Assen often hosts close and competitive races.

Hikari Okubo, stated: “We were unlucky in the last race but I know I have good potential. I think we can do a good job again this weekend. Assen has not been my favourite track but I have a new bike and team to approach it with this year. I think I can make a good push in Assen to try and finish inside the top five.”

Sheridan Morais, stated: “After riding for the team at Motorland Aragon I think the Kawasaki will be even more suited to Assen, but we’ll see this weekend how that proves to be. In terms of riding fitness alone I now have Aragon under the belt, and I feel we will be really strong there. I have researched all the previous results since this opportunity came around and I know Assen will be a strong round for the bike. I go pretty well there too. I have no doubt that we can just make this half a second leap, and that will put us in the leading pack to fight for podiums and wins.”

Privateer runner for Australia Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) is currently the top Kawasaki rider in the championship, in tenth, with a best finish of sixth place in Thailand.

ESS Rider, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer), who is doing the European rounds only, will enjoy a home round at Assen, and is already 17th in the championship after just one round. Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) was back in action and Motorland Aragon and will be again in Assen, alongside his team-mate Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki).

Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) is a regular runner in the championship and he will be in the Netherlands alongside fellow Kawasaki riders Dutch rider Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team), both of whom are ESS riders.


Double Dutch trouble at Assen

Leading WorldSSP300 duo head home following Aragon spectacle

If the Aragon opener was anything to go by, the 2018 season of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship will be one to remember for a long time. With an electrifying race under the Spanish sun setting the stage for an epic season, the 300 class now moves north to the Netherlands. It will be the first experience for many at the TT Assen circuit, a legendary track with the infamous Geert Timmer chicane becoming a true baptism of fire for the WorldSSP300 rookies.

Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Racing Team) was one of many fresh faces in the WorldSSP300 re-start eager to leave a mark early on – and get himself noticed he did, taking the lead on the penultimate straight before stealing the win on his debut. The first WorldSSP300 leader of the year heads home for the second round, and will be willing to prove his worth once again in front of his home fans.

Meuffels will find stiff competition at Assen however, with the rest of the Dutch contingent also making an impressive start at Aragon. Leading the fight will be Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki), beaten to the punch on Sunday but with plenty of Assen experience. The Dutchman won here last year but has been unable to climb back to the top of the podium. Barely an hour away from his hometown of Nijkerkerveen, the stage is set for Deroue to quell his hunger at TT Assen. His teammate Robert Schotman (Motosport Kawasaki), fifth in Spain, should also be in contention for the Cathedral crown.

Taking the Superpole last Saturday, Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) led more laps than anyone at MotorLand Aragon but could only finish third. Still, the Spaniard was one of only two riders to win consecutive races last season (the other being Deroue), and will be a clear championship contender if he can add consistency to his undoubtable pace. At Assen last year a slip left him out of the points – a mistake he’ll be desperate to not repeat.

Mykyta Kalinin (GP Project Team) is another WorldSSP300 sophomore striving for a win at Assen, with the Ukrainian stepping up his game this season. Starting 15th on the grid in Spain, his climb to the top was one of the highlights of the round.

The DS Junior Team were poised for a triumphant start to their season, with Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team) adding to the talents of Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team). In the leading pack for the entire race, their slightly disappointing sixth and eighth-place finishes, respectively, should not disguise the speed both showed the entire weekend.

Meanwhile, Glenn Van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) made his one appearance in WorldSSP300 last year at Assen as a wildcard, but still managed to cross the finish line in second. He will look to go one further this weekend, and make it two in two for KTM.


#DutchWorldSBK

10 facts you need to know ahead of the MOTUL Dutch Round

No time to rest as WorldSBK heads to The Netherlands

1. All eyes will be on Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) at Assen, as he has won the last seven races here - eleven in total. If he secures the double victory, he will end up just one win short of Carl Fogarty, the rider to hold the record for all-time wins (59).

2. The second record in sight for Rea is the one for most wins at the same venue: Fogarty won 12 times here; Rea follows at 11, both around TT Circuit Assen.

3. Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) comes from Aragon with a record win in Race 2, he became the fifth rider in history with at least seven wins on a given track. He sits behind Carl Fogarty (12 at Assen); Jonathan Rea (11 at Assen); Tom Sykes (9 at Donington); Troy Corser (7 at Phillip Island).

4. For the first time in the history of the Championship, three riders (Davies, Melandri, Rea) have two wins each after the first three race weekends.

5. Ducati have had a bike on the podium in each of the last 19 races. This means that in Assen the Italian manufacturer has the chance to record the ninth string in history, giving them at least 20 consecutive podiums. The absolute record belongs to them, with 67 straight podiums from Sugo/2, 2002 to Losail/2, 2005.

6. British riders have won more than a half of the races run at Assen: 28 out of 52. Currently, the Brits have also won 43 of the last 46 races run, missing out only in Misano/2, 2017 and Phillip Island 2018, when the winner was Italian Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).

7. Only one rider has won a dry race starting outside the top-5 grid spots around Assen, Jonathan Rea in Race two last year.

8. Only Kawasaki have been able to record six straight poles at Assen, a sequence which started in 2012 and stretches to the present day. Last year they surpassed the record of five straight set by Ducati (1992-1996).

9. No less than 19 different riders have won a WorldSBK race at Assen. Two of them are World Champions past and present of the 2016 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.

10. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) holds the record for Assen poles, of 4. Troy Corser (1995, 1999, 2006) and Frankie Chili (1998, 2003, 2004) are his nearest rivals.


#DutchWorldSBK welcomes added fan entertainment

Dutch fans get a taste for the new paddock experience in the MOTUL Dutch Round

As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship circus heads to The Netherlands for the MOTUL Dutch Round, fans are preparing for an exciting weekend full of exciting activity and a chance to meet the local heroes.

Guaranteeing all Dutch riders will be on stage at some point throughout the weekend, the world famous Paddock Show welcomes a bigger and better fan experience throughout Europe. With the usual live coverage throughout the weekend, it will now welcome fans for the opportunity to get closer to Parc Ferme, as bike will roll into there directly from the track and next to the Paddock Show stage. Alongside the new podium and Podium Shows, it won’t be an opportunity to miss. On top of this, the SuperShow will once again be offering the best entertainment for fans once the bikes are off the track on Saturday from 15.45h.

Don’t miss out on experiencing the Fan Zone, which will offer a SHAD and Acerbis product displays and photoshooting. Enjoy chilling out for the weekend with Prosecco Doc distribution as you wander round and pick out some merchandise to support your heroes out on track – especially home hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). On top of this, the fan zone will offer a kids mini bikes track, MOTUL and Milwaukee animation.

Get the opportunity to see how the WorldSBK pit lane works, with the free pit walk on Saturday from 15.40 and Sunday from 10.25. Free with your weekend ticket, you can get the chance to see the riders up close and personal, as well as an exclusive glimpse into the working pit lane.

Offering free parking and a helmet guard service for the weekend, fans will be in for a fantastic MOTUL Dutch WorldSBK.


Source: 
Round Number: 
4
2018

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