Press releases from the teams and organizers after the Dutch round of WorldBK at Assen:
#DutchWorldSBK Day 3 - Commanding Sykes storms to Assen win
Flag to flag lead for KRT rider as Rea’s Dutch streak is broken
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was delighted to take his first win of 2018
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) put in the most dominant performance in the 2018 season of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship so far, recording fastest lap after fastest lap to score his first win of the campaign, ending Jonathan Rea’s (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)’s Assen winning streak in the process. Behind the KRT riders, Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) recorded his second successive podium in front of his home crowd.
Since Sylvain Guintoli in Race 1 of 2014, nobody had managed to question Rea’s authority at the Cathedral. That streak, eight successive wins here including Race 1 yesterday, was finally closed by Rea’s teammate, the only other rider on the grid who had previously won here (2013, Race 1).
Yesterday Sykes stressed how fast his bike could be, with his issues only coming whenever he needed to overtake his rivals, particularly the Ducatis. This wasn’t a problem here: Sykes started from pole, didn’t allow Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) to squeeze forward at the start, and then pushed hard until opening a 5-6 gap with his closest pursuers, consistently riding two to three tenths of a second faster than Rea and van der Mark.
The pair held an exciting duel yesterday for the win, and from the start they were paired together again: eighth and ninth on the grid, third and fourth after Lap 1, and competing for second for the latter two thirds of the race. Eventually, Rea managed to open a gap with his Yamaha rival, completing the first KRT one-two since Laguna Seca/R2 2017. He now leads the championship by 30 points, and despite not beating Carl Fogarty’s historic 12 Assen wins, the reigning champion will be pleased to have opened a gap here in the Netherlands.
Van der Mark couldn’t fight for the win today, but pleased the home fans with a third place, his fifth Assen podium finish, and moves into fourth in the championship standings. The man he overtakes this weekend, Xavi Fores, came in just behind in fourth position, the first Ducati rider and, as in most races so far this season, the best independent rider.
The Ducatis, in fact, struggled under the Assen heat, with both Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) encountering trouble at the start and moving back to 8th and 10threspectively. Eventually, Davies fought back to fifth, but will be frustrated at not being able to get closer to the podium.
Melandri suffered more, however, falling back and never really escaping from the middle pack of five riders that closed the top-10 positions. He finishes seventh, behind the MV Agusta of Jordi Torres (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) – best personal finish of the season – and only just ahead of Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW World Superbike Team) in eighth, his second successive top-ten finish. That group was closed by Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in ninth, followed by Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) in tenth.
P1 - Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"It feels incredible, I had a struggle and I've jsut got to say thanks to my team. I'm really happy for this win, the old Sykes is back. I got to the front and listened to what the Pirelli tyres were saying, the guys gave me a great set up. We had the bike fit for the win, it was nice controlling the race with my pit board. What a feeling, I've got that one off my back and it feels great."
P2 - Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
"I felt good, I enjoyed the race and felt good, what ruined the race for us was our track position, Tom got away and I was stuck in traffic. When I arrived I could keep the pace similar but I had used so much tyre, so second was the best I could do today, Tom did an incredible job and it's great for the team, a 1-2 for Kawasaki is a great job."
P3 - Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK)
"I am really happy with the double podium, I didn't feel like I had the full pace today but I could follow Jonny and I had a feeling I could attack in the last few laps, but I had a problem as I couldn't back shift. But I'm so happy, its been a great weekend with perfect weather, amazing fans and a double podium."
#DutchWorldSBK at TT Circuit Assen: Race 2
1. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +5.445
3. Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) +7.507
Sykes Wins As Kawasaki Takes 1-2
After a start-to-finish win from pole position Tom Sykes (KRT) secured his first WorldSBK race victory since Misano in 2017 in emphatic fashion, heading up a KRT 1-2. Championship leader Jonathan Rea (KRT) finished a strong second today, despite launching from the third row of the grid after winning the first Assen race on Saturday.
Securing what his first but Kawasaki’s fourth WorldSBK race victory of the year, 2013 world champion Sykes got back to his very best today, running clear of his early rivals and maintaining a remarkably consistent high pace throughout. He started from pole on Sunday as he had finished fourth on day one, and made the very best of his opportunity.
After a trademark front-running Sykes win Tom enjoyed a final margin of victory of 5.445 seconds and his second podium finish of the 2018 season.
Rea was fourth after one lap, then third after four laps, before taking second place on lap six. By that stage Sykes had already opened up a gap of 3.5 seconds, which grew as Jonathan had to defend his position at one stage.
Maintaining his own high pace, Rea had to fight off the attentions of eventual third place finisher Michael van der Mark in the middle of the 21-lap race. Jonathan reasserted himself to keep his rival two seconds behind at the flag and secure his sixth podium in eight races.
After showing real Ninja spirit all through a gloriously warm and sunny race weekend in the Netherlands, Rea leaves with an extended championship lead and Tom has propelled himself up to fifth in the championship, just two points behind fourth place.
Rea now has 159 points, Davies 129, Melandri 115, van der Mark 103 and Sykes 101.
The next round will be held at Imola in Italy with racedays on 12th and 13th May.
Tom Sykes, stated: “The Ninja ZX-10RR today was great on a clear track. I was disappointed with yesterday’s race, for a number a reasons. But what can I say about the win today? Big thanks to my family, friends and ultimately the crew. I have not had an easy time in the last 18 months or so, but the good thing is that Marcel is not just my crew chief, but also such an amazing friend. He has helped me and gently reminded me of where we have come from in the past, and how we got to where we are now. I knew that the results have not justified the efforts we have put in until now. I also knew last night that a little bit of magic and the Sykes’ spark was there. I think there is no doubt in my speed and today we converted that into all 21 laps. I am very, very happy for this and it was quite emotional to win today.”
Jonathan Rea, stated: “My track position did not help in the beginning. I wasted a lot of tyre life and energy coming from ninth. When I had free track I could see that the gap remained constant. I also ran into some issues with vibration, backing in and the bike becoming a bit unstable. I managed my own race then and totally accepted that today was not going to be my day. Tom was stronger but my race was compromised by my ninth place start. You cannot give a guy like Tom pole position after his pace yesterday. Kudos to him and his team they did a great job, and I can take my points and march on to Imola pretty happy. I have a 30-point lead. It was target achieved at this round and I am feeling better with the bike each week.”
Van der Mark's Double Dutch Delight in Race 2 at Assen
Local hero Michael van der Mark gave the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team and the passionate Dutch fans something to celebrate on Sunday at Round 4 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. After finishing Saturday's Race 1 in second place, he stormed to another podium in Race 2, crossing the line in third to record his best ever WorldSBK weekend in terms of results. In contrast, his teammate Alex Lowes, who had shown excellent pace all weekend, unfortunately, struggled with front-end grip during Race 2. Displaying his trademark fighting spirit, he was battling hard before he crashed at the Geert Timmer chicane on lap 13 but courageously remounted and rejoined the race in last, battling back superbly in the final laps and recovering to finish in 14th place.
Local hero Van der Mark secured a sensational podium on Saturday, setting the fastest lap of Race 1 as he charged from seventh on the grid to cross the line in second, just missing out on the race win by 0.981s after an excellent duel with Jonathan Rea - the closest the Pata Yamaha team have come to victory since their return to WorldSBK in 2016. This saw him start Race 2 from eighth on the grid but after a blistering start, he was, incredibly, up to third by the end of the just the first lap. Once again, he would become involved in another superb battle with championship leader Rea - this time for second - that ran until the final few laps.
The 25-year-old Dutch rider was biding his time and saving his tyres to engage Rea like he did in Race 1 in a fight towards the end but during the final stages, he suffered from a small technical issue with his Pata Yamaha R1 that saw his challenge for second fade. Instead, he took the chequered flag in a sensational third place with the grandstands in Assen erupting once more for the man from Rotterdam as he secured his best ever points haul from a WorldSBK weekend. In the process, he also recorded the Pata Yamaha Team's - and the new generation Yamaha YZF-R1's - first ever double podium during a race weekend. The 2014 WorldSSP Champion is now looking like a serious contender and is fourth in the overall standings with 103 points, just 12 behind Marco Melandri in third.
It was a tough weekend for his teammate Lowes, who displayed excellent pace in almost every session. This was highlighted by the incredible lap in Saturday's SP2 that saw him take his maiden WorldSBK pole position. Unfortunately, this would be the highlight of his weekend, as an error on the grid saw his Pata Yamaha R1 fitted with the wrong front tyre. Miraculously, he showed superb tenacity and maturity to fight his way to finish in 12th. Hoping to bounce back in Sunday's Race 2 from 10th on the grid, he enjoyed a superb start and was up to fifth by the end of lap 2.
Determined to fight for the podium, his mission was derailed by a lack of front grip that got worse as the race progressed. Battling with every ounce of his strength, he somehow managed to stay in the top six before a crash at the final corner on lap 13. The 27-year-old Brit immediately jumped back on the bike and rejoined the race but found himself in last position and 50 seconds down on the race leader. Getting his head down he went on a charge and somehow managed to claw back an eight-second deficit to catch the riders in front of him, crossing the line in a spirited 14th place and securing two championship points. The 2013 British Superbike Champion is now seventh in the overall standings with 76 points and will head to the test in Brno with one goal in mind, to bounce back in Imola and be back fighting at the front.
Coming off back-to-back races, the Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team now head to Brno at the weekend to conduct a private test, before returning to action at Round 5 of the WorldSBK Championship in Imola on the 11-13th of May. Check out the full WorldSBK Race 2 results.
Michael van der Mark
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 3rd +7.507s
"I am really happy to have secured a double podium! Yesterday, I was quite close to Jonny fighting for victory and I was really happy with that. I was hoping today we could repeat it and, coming from eighth place on the grid, I had a good start and a good first lap. To be honest, I struggled a bit compared to yesterday. I think the temperature went up a bit and I was struggling a little with the front grip and my pace wasn't as good as yesterday, so I was a bit worried. Jonny passed me and the best thing I could do was follow him, so I did that, felt good and thought we might have another nice battle but during the last few laps, we had a small issue with the bike which meant I couldn't fight with him. Anyway, it has been an incredible weekend, we have been fast from the start. We have had amazing weather, amazing crowds, so I have really enjoyed my home race and I am really happy to go home with my two trophies. I am looking forward to Imola but first, we hope to have a good test in Brno. We have a few ideas to try with the bike there and then it is Imola. I think we have a good base setup with the bike and hopefully, Imola will confirm that. If we can find a bit of extra speed at Brno then we will be able to fight at the front again in front of Yamaha's Italian fans."
Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team - 14th +53.355s
"It was a tough race, there is not a lot to say really. I crashed at the chicane when the front let go without any warning, I got back on and that was it, the race was finished already. So it wasn't the best day for me and of course, I'm really disappointed, but the team had good results with Michael and I will look to bounce back with a strong weekend in Imola after the Brno test."
Paul Denning - Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team Principal
"It was another fantastic day's work for Michael at his home race to put the Pata Yamaha R1 on the podium from the third row of the grid. It even looked, with only a few laps remaining, that he would be able to challenge Jonathan for second but a small technical problem meant he had to adapt his riding style and bring the machine home in, still, a fabulous third place. Congratulations to Michael, his crew, and Yamaha's engineers on the step-by-step progress that is now starting to pay dividends with clear results.
As a team, we couldn't feel more disappointed for Alex. He has ridden so well all weekend, has had fantastic pace - as his maiden WorldSBK pole position clearly demonstrated - but the problems we suffered in the race yesterday possibly caused an overreaction with regards to some of the choices we made with the setup today and the bike did not have the amount of front grip that we would have liked to have given him. Nonetheless, Alex pushed forward from the fourth row amazing well, showed full commitment and, with a lack front grip, the data showed his accident on the entry to the chicane was not something he could have easily avoided without going a lot more slowly, which is something that the top riders never want to do.
So, Assen was a weekend of highs and lows but the positives to be taken include the first pole position for the new generation R1 and for Alex, the first double podium in the same race weekend for the team and the bike, and the overall performance potential shown means we look forward to the Brno test and Imola race with a lot of enthusiasm."
Davies 5th and Melandri 7th in Race 2 at Assen with the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team
After taking a podium in Race 1 with Chaz Davies (3rd), the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team resumed competition today at Assen (Netherlands), home of the fourth round of the 2018 WorldSBK Championship, scoring a fifth and seventh place with Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri respectively in Race 2.
Both riders faced a difficult task after briefly going off the track in the early-laps pandemonium. Davies then recovered positions to climb up to fifth half-way through the race, but couldn't make further moves due to unexpected vibrations on the rear. Melandri fought hard as well, and rode within a group of five riders fighting for sixth position to finish in seventh.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, with the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team, also faced a uphill race but still managed to score points and gain valuable experience, taking 12th position under the checkered flag. After four rounds, Davies (129 points) and Melandri (115 points) are respectively second and third in the championship, while Rinaldi (21 points) is 15th. The Aruba.it Racing - Ducati team and the Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team will resume action at Imola (Italy) for the fifth round of the WorldSBK Championship, scheduled for May 11-13. To better prepare for the home round, the teams will hold a private test at Brno (Czech Republic) next week, on April 25th and 26th.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #7) – 5th
"Looking at the positives, we didn't give away too many points; but today the race was a bit of a struggle. We changed the bike and in the early stages we suffered with edge grip and turning on the exit, then we had a strange vibration on the rear. We still need to find out what caused it, but it forced us to go slower in the final laps and basically just bring it home. We struggled a bit here but we have a good base and we just need to react more quickly. Imola has been good in the past few years so I hope for better fortunes there."
Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati #33) – 7th
"I gave everything I had out there, fighting as if the win was on the line, but unfortunately we rode another difficult race and we fought once again against the same issue that has been penalizing us lately. Our potential is much higher, but I look ahead with positivity because both the team and Ducati are working really hard to improve. Next week's test will be very important. I think the solution is within reach, and I hope to be able to fight for podiums and wins as soon as possible."
Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Junior Team #21) – 12th
"I thought we could do better. We worked hard for the second half of the race, but unfortunately at the start I found an issue, which hindered my performance. It's a pity, because our potential is getting bigger, but this is racing. I look forward to Imola, a track that I really like, to keep improving."
Stefano Cecconi, Aruba CEO and Team Principal
"After scoring wins on each track we raced at so far this season, unfortunately we didn't achieve the expected results at Assen. So, we'll work even harder to prepare for our home race at Imola, where we want to be protagonists and put on a show with our riders for all the ducatisti."
Double points finish for Triple M Honda World Superbike Team at Assen
TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands
In its fourth WorldSBK weekend the rookie Triple M Honda World Superbike team secured points in each 21-lap race at Assen, with their American rider PJ Jacobsen once more mixing it on track with many more experienced riders and teams.
Having scored points in one of the two races that constitute a full WorldSBK race weekend at the previous three rounds, Assen was another step forward. Rider and team were able to take away points scores in each race for the first time in one event.
Going 15th in Superpole qualifying, at what was a consistently warm and dry Assen weekend in the Netherlands, PJ was able to once again improve on his grid position in the races, with 14th in race one and 13th in race two.
He had been up as high as 11th in the second race, fighting for a top ten, before tyre wear and its effect on his chassis set-up came into play.
Warm track conditions all weekend at Assen were an unusual characteristic for this circuit in the north of Europe, but a very welcome one for a team that is still learning in its first year at this level of production-derived racing, and needs to make good use of every single track session.
With the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team unable to race at Assen due to injuries suffered by their riders, the Triple M squad was flying solo on their CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 for much of the weekend, which did not help the overall effort to find an ideal set-up.
Now the team will take part in a two-day test at Brno – a returning circuit to the WorldSBK calendar in 2018 – before the next race takes place at the undulating and flowing Imola circuit in Italy. Race days at round five will be on 12th and 13th May.
PJ Jacobsen 99
It was quite difficult for us this weekend, especially not having the other Honda riders Leon Camier and Jake Gagne here to help get the bike set up. It was not one of our best weekends but hopefully we can go to the test in Brno next week and see where we can improve out on track. We will work with what we have now to get the chassis in a better position for me as I have not been really comfortable in our direction all weekend. Neither the team or me want to be riding around in 13th and 14th, to be honest.
- Triple M Honda World Superbike Team
It seems there were two different races within the same race, both yesterday and today. PJ was quick and comfortable for the first 10-12 laps. Then when the drop in the tyres became dramatic, the bike changed completely and the second part of the race was not so nice. The bike starts to be difficult to handle. This is the area we have to work on more, when the tyre starts to drop. So we have to think about something with the chassis, and especially the electronics and engine to be more constant all race and save the tyres for the second part. We are still working a lot and every track is new for us. I think we made another step because for ten laps we were really in the top ten group. Now we have to make a longer race pace.
Savadori and Giugliano score in both races for Milwaukee Aprilia at Assen
TT Circuit Assen 22 / 04 / 2018
Round 4 Weekend Report
Milwaukee Aprilia riders Davide Giugliano and Lorenzo Savadori both scored points in Races 1 and 2 at Assen in a disappointing weekend for the team
Mixed fortunes in Superpole saw Davide struggle to get out of Superpole 1 after reporting issues with his qualifying tyres, and he lined up P16. Lorenzo conversely enjoyed his best Superpole of 2018, securing a strong P4 only 0.6s from pole. He had looked good for a front row start earlier in the session until low rear grip cost him the chance to push for a faster time.
In Race 1 Davide made up a position on the start, moving past Jacobsen for P15. He was re-passed on Lap 5, and tailed Jacobsen for the race distance. He gained a position after Lorenzo's Turn 5 crash to go P15, and made up another two places on Lap 18. Davide held strong for the final laps, and came home P13 to score points for the third time in a row since riding for Milwaukee Aprilia. Lorenzo lost out at the start, slipping back to P9 on Lap 1 after a slow getaway from his grid slot. He was caught up in a fight with Baz and Razgatlioglu for position, with Mercado joining the action. Lorenzo held P10 up to Lap 12, when he took Mercado for P9. He then made a pass on Razgatlioglu stick to take P8 on Lap 13, but a crash on Lap 14 at Turn 5 ruined his progress. He was able to pick his bike up and restart, rejoining the race P16. He was still able to pass Hernandez on Lap 19 for P15, and finished in that position to take 1 consolation point.
For Race 2 Lorenzo and Davide lined up P11 and P16 respectively. Off the line Lorenzo struggled and dropped a place, and again found himself fighting with Baz and Razagatlioglu. Mercado's retirement promoted Lorenzo to P11, which he held to the middle of the race before passing both Baz and Razgatlioglu for P9. Lowes' crash from P6 then moved Lorenzo up to P8. In the final stages of the race he was hunting Melandri for P7, closing to within a second as he fended off chasing riders. A small mistake on the final lap cost him position however, and he crossed the line P10 with 6 points.
Davide had a eventful race on his way to finishing P11, his best result with the team since joining. His start was strong, taking Jacobsen, Ramos and Rinaldi on Lap 1 to take P13. Jacobsen attacked and retook P13 on Lap 4, with Mercado's retirement moving Davide up a position. Rinaldi came back too, passing Davide. A crash for Lowes in P6 on Lap 12 promoted the field again, with Davide overtaking Jacobsen for P12 on Lap 16. With three laps left he made a strong pass on Rinaldi to take P11, and brought home 5 valuable points as reward.
Round 4 of the WorldSBK championship takes place in Imola, Italty at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, from Friday 11th - Sunday 13th May.
Lorenzo Savadori #32 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 2 result: 1'34.739 - P4 on grid
Race 1 result: P15 - 1 point
Race 2 grid: P11 - Row 4
Race 2 result: P10 - 6 points
"Qualifying was positive and the second row P4 was a good result for us. I had some movement on the rear when we switched to the qualifying tyre, and I think without that I could have made the front row. I struggled a lot at the beginning of Race 1 with a full fuel tank. I lost out some places at the start which was not good, but I started to reduce the gap to the guys in front and was up to P8 later in the race. Then I made a mistake and had a crash at Turn 5, and we need to understand what caused the crash. I was able to pick the bike up, restart and finished P15 with 1 point, which was not what I hoped to get from P4 on the grid.
In Race 2 I struggled again with the fuel load. When I got the bike into a strong rhythm though my pace was good and I could chase the pack ahead of me. In the middle of the race I Iost a lot of grip on the front tyre and it started to get vibrations, and I could not push. I think P6 was possible today so it was a shame to not get that. We had some bad luck this weekend and some problems that we need to fix, and I want to thank SMR and Aprilia Racing for their hard work. I'm looking forward to the next race at Imola now and to working hard for better results."
Davide Giugliano #34 - Aprilia RSV4-RF
Superpole 1 result: 1'36.417 - P16 on grid
Race 1 result: P13 - 3 points
Race 2 grid: P16 - Row 6
Race 2 result: P11 - 5 points
"In the Superpole I had a problem with the new tyre. It was really difficult to push on it and I didn’t feel comfortable with it. P17 was disappointing for sure and I really wanted to start higher up. In Race 1 I lost a lot of time in the first 6/7 laps. I was pushing the whole race, but I expected my pace to be better honestly. I made up some places in the final laps to take P13 and some points, but I knew we could do more.
In Race 2 the start was really good, my pace was strong and I was able to keep up with and pass some of the guys in front. I lost some time in the middle when I lost a little bit of grip, but I was able to finish P11 with good points. It has been quite a positive weekend for me. I feel a lot better on the bike and I have a great relationship with the team. I’m looking forward to the next race at Imola and to see what we can do there for the Italian fans."
WorldSSP: Cluzel reigns at Assen in race to remember
Frenchman becomes fourth winner this season, following epic Krummenacher comeback
Jules Cluzel (NRT) ended a long win drought to take victory in stunning style
Some races are just made to be watched again and again. The fourth race of the FIM Supersport World Championship at Assen fits perfectly into that category, as the Dutch fans witnessed an epic contest with a fourth winner of the year, a breathtaking climb from the back, more passes than can be counted, heartbreak, and in the end, a championship that is as unpredictable as it is exciting.
When the dust settled, it was Jules Cluzel (NRT) who made it out on top. The Frenchman had spent a year and a half without a win in WorldSSP, and his season began with two disappointing races, but after a fantastic start here, where he moved from fourth to first inside the first lap, Cluzel never left the top of the field, battling off contender after contender.
However, the star of the field was inevitably Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team). The Swiss rider’s Sunday started in shock, as a problem with his Yamaha forced him to go back to the pits before the warm-up lap, starting eventually from the back. But this just set the stage for a memorable performance. By the first lap he was up to 18th; halfway through he was 7th, hunting down the leading pack.
Then came the final laps: he went past Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) on lap 12, took out both Federico Caricasulo and Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamah Official WorldSSP Team) shortly after as the teammates came together, battled with poleman Sandro Cortese (Kallio Racing) to climb onto the podium and, finally, with a lap to go, made it past Raffaele De Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) into second. Cluzel proved to be one man too many to beat, but Krummenacher should be elated by a performance, perhaps the best of the championship so far.
Behind him, De Rosa put his MV Agusta onto the podium for the first time this season, after clashing with Cluzel all race. It’s the first non-Yamaha bike in the top three this year. He made it in just ahead of championship leader Mahias, who sees his lead reduced to just one point.
Cortese, starting from first, couldn’t come back from a poor dash off the lights, as he did at MotorLand Aragon, and finally came in fifth, after Stapleford, who just made it in ahead, was sanctioned for a previous clash with Caricasulo. The Italian will be extremely disappointed, as he leaves Assen with no points and drifting away from the championship lead.
Behind Cortese, it was finally Niki Tuuli (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) in sixth, with Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer) in seventh and Thomas Gradinger (NRT) in eighth, all three separated by just half a second.
P1 - Jules Cluzel (NRT)
"I don't know how long I have been waiting for that! We improved a lot since our last race at Assen, and I just worked hard this weekend. I struggled a lot with the front tyre at the end of the race but I think everyone did, but I am so so happy to take the win."
#DutchWorldSBK WorldSSP at TT Circuit Assen - Race
1. Jules Cluzel (NRT)
2. Randy Krummenacher (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) +0.291
3. Rafaelle de Rosa (MV Agusta Reparto Corse by Vamag) +0.315
Top six for Tuuli & first World Championship points for Irwin at Assen
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda riders Niki Tuuli and Andrew Irwin delivered a double points finish in today’s World Supersport race at Assen.
Starting from eighth position on the grid Tuuli made a bad start and lost touch with the leading group but he won the hard battle with Hartog to achieve his aim of a top six finish and retains seventh in the Championship standings.
From a qualifying position of 20th Irwin made a huge confidence boosting leap into the points finishing a strong 12th in the 18-lap Dutch race.
Tuuli said: “The race wasn’t what I expected. I think I missed the light or something and I dropped a couple of places and after 2 or 3 corners I dropped back from the front group which is where I was supposed to be. I struggled a little bit with grip, that’s been my problem but by the end of the race my lap times were coming better. We need to find something small that we can improve with the new tyre that will give a little more grip. It was a hard fight with Hartog, he pushed me off the track four times. Next race I have to be better this was the right direction but we still have a lot of work to do. Thanks to the team.”
Irwin said: “The race was much better than practice and qualifying. I got a good start, made maybe seven places and ended twelfth. A few people crashed but it’s points and it’s my first World Championship points so I’m really happy with that. I’m looking forward to Imola. I’ll work hard, keep focused and relaxed to stay in the points and keep progressing.”
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “I’m happy for Niki that he’s broken into the top six. He made a bad start but with 3 laps to go he did a 1’39.4 and was at that point the fastest man on the track. Like I told him if he can do a lap time like that at the end of a race then he has the potential to run with the leading group. We are happy we are going in the right direction. We have a little more to find and Niki has to find the pace throughout the race.”
“Really pleased for Andrew he got a fantastic start and rode a good race dicing with some good people to finish well inside the points. After the setback from injury at the start of the season this is just what he needs as a springboard to go forward for the rest of the season. It was a great job by him and his crew.”
KRUMMENACHER STARS IN A THRILLER OF A RACE, STARTING LAST AND FINISHING ON THE PODIUM, IN SECOND PLACE
Assen (The Netherlands) 22 April 2018
Randy Krummenacher put in an incredible performance in today's race, having been forced to start the race from last position in the grid, due to a technical setback, rather than from sixth place.
The Swiss rider was not giving in and once again proved his consistency, ability and talent. The lights went out at 11.30 local time, the fourth race of the Supersport world championship getting underway at Assen and comprising 18 laps for a total of 81.756km. Krummenacher made an excellent start, immediately making up positions. Already tenth by lap three, the Swiss rider amazed the spectators, continuing to cut his way through the field before reaching the leading group. A breath-taking race and a hard-fought one, in which Krummenacher stunned both his team and the crowds, crossing the line second and even setting a new 'lap record', stopping the clock on 1.38'108. Still incredulous, but with a smile on his face, Krummenacher is of course pleased and was able to limit the damage in light of the setback which could have cost dearly.
#RK21: "This weekend has been a strange one. I dominated in the practice sessions but then a defective tyre prevented me from doing my best in Superpole. Despite this, I should have started sixth but something went wrong and, due to a technical problem, I was forced to start last on the grid. All I could think is that everything happens for a reason and that I would need to really give it my all in order to achieve the best possible result. My bike was working really well and so I was able to make a good start and immediately make up many positions. At first I didn't think I could finish on the podium but my mid-race I was beginning to see it might be possible. I didn't lose hope, not for a second, and this led me to a second-place finish. What can I say, the adrenaline's still pumping and I'm really pleased. Only one point lies between me and Mahias, who leads right now. This is only round four and so I'm sure it will be a really exciting season with some great results. I want to thank my team, my sponsors and my family, their smiles repay me and spur me on. Now we'll work to prepare for Imola, taking place on 13 May. I hope to be able to score more important points there."
Mahias Maintains Championship Lead in Assen
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team's Lucas Mahias leaves Round 4 of the 2018 Supersport World Championship at Assen still leading the overall standings after a strong ride to fourth, although he was disappointed not to be able to fight for the race win on Sunday. His teammate Federico Caricasulo was pushing as hard as he could during the race before contact with another rider saw him crash out while battling in the leading group. In the European Supersport Cup, Alfonso Coppola made a strong start but faded towards the end of the race to finish in 20th place.
Mahias struggled to find the perfect setup in Aragon and, unfortunately, he suffered from a similar issue throughout the weekend in Assen. Starting from the middle of the front row, the reigning WorldSSP Champion led in the early stages of the race but was riding on the absolute limit for the entire 18 laps. He fought hard in the leading group and battled all the way to the line with some sensational riding. In a dramatic finish, it looked like he might be on the podium but he ended up missing out in the sprint to the line and finished in fourth, just 0.341s behind the winner. Despite being disappointed on missing out on the podium for the second consecutive race, the 29-year-old French rider leaves the TT Circuit Assen still leading the overall championship with 71 points, although his lead has now been reduced to one point heading into Round 5 at Imola.
Caricasulo also found it hard to get the perfect setup with his GRT Yamaha R6. Despite this, he fought valiantly all weekend and during the race, he had made his way up to fifth from seventh on the grid and was battling with his teammate in the leading group. That is when disaster struck, as there was contact with another rider on lap 13 at Turn 6 and his race ended prematurely. Luckily, despite it being a very fast crash, he walked away battered and bruised but without any serious injury. After his DNF, the 22-year-old Italian is now fifth in the championship standings with 49 points, trailing his teammate at the top by 21 points but confident he can fight back at Imola.
Coppola once again showed great progress throughout the race weekend, as the inaugural Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge winner continues to adjust to the WorldSSP championship. Lining up on the grid in 25th place, he enjoyed a number of good battles with other riders before the extra weight of the R6 and the longer duration of the race started to tell. Battling all the way to the line, he finished in 20th place and is now determined to work hard on his strength and stamina before the next round at Imola.
The GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team now head to a private test at Brno later in the week, before it is time to set their sights on Round 4 of the WorldSSP Championship at Imola on the 11th-13th May. Check out the full WorldSSP race results from Assen.
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - 4th - 0.341s
"It has been a really, really difficult weekend for me. I am a little bit sad right now because fourth is not the position I wanted to finish the race. This is the second race in a row I have missed the podium and, for sure, I have the pace to fight for the podium but we just can't get the bike set up perfectly at the moment. In Aragon, we had similar issues and I seem to be losing out to the others on the straight, so now we must try to understand the problem. I pushed as hard as I could in what was a difficult race but, honestly, fourth was the best I could do today, it was impossible to get on the podium as it was like 18 qualification laps for me. I was pushing right on the limit every lap, which made it very difficult. My teammate Caricasulo had the same issue, he was pushing very hard in the race to try and stay in the podium fight and crashed. For me, it is not the end of the world as I am still leading the championship. I didn't make any mistakes and I genuinely think fourth was the best I could do. We will work really hard at the test in Brno to try and understand this issue and in the time before Imola, we will try and find a solution. I would like to thank my team for all their hard work this weekend. We improved in every session and the chassis is now set up perfectly. This is the reason I finished fourth, because of the excellent work from my team, so now I will focus on being able to fight for the win in Imola."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team - DNF
"I did not have the best setting for today's race. I was fast in the middle of the race but my front tyre was finished after that. There was lots of contact with other riders during the race. I had two or three collisions and then, when I was in Turn 6, I felt contact with another rider from behind and crashed. I did not have the pace to fight for the podium today. If I had not crashed I would have been at the back of the group, I think, by the end of the race. Luckily, although it was a fast crash I just have a few cuts and bruises. Now I will focus on the Brno test and I look forward to racing in Imola!"
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Junior Team - 20th +1:01.212s
"To finish my first race in WorldSSP is a very big step! In WorldSSP300 you don't do as many laps and the bike is a lot lighter, so here, the heavier R6 over 18 laps became very demanding. Up until lap 8, I felt really good but I struggled a little after that, so now I will go home and train very hard to make another improvement for Imola. Thank you to Yamaha for this opportunity and for the GRT team who I am learning a lot from, mentally and physically. They manage to help me keep calm and focused and this is important. I look forward to racing in Imola. I love the track and my target will be to finish in the points."
GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team Manager
"It was a very exciting race with lots of drama. We just missed out on the podium with Lucas but we managed to close the gap to the guys at the front over the course of the weekend. Federico was pushing really hard but when you do not feel 100% with your bike's setting, everything is harder and this was the reason why he had to take so many big risks. Honestly, I am not very satisfied with this race because I know that we have the potential to be fighting for the victory with both riders. We struggled really to find the right setup for our riders over the weekend and while we managed to improve in each session, it wasn't enough to win the race. Now we have the test at Brno to work on both riders setting's and hopefully, we can be back fighting for the race win in Imola. Alfonso finished his first race and he showed really good improvements again over the weekend. Coming from WorldSSP300, he has to get used to the physical demands of riding the R6 in WorldSSP but we are confident he will work as hard as he can to arrive in Imola ready to battle for the top 15."
Disappointment For Okubo And Morais
Hikari Okubo (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his team-mate Sheridan Morais experienced an unfortunate raceday in Assen after they collided on the second lap of the race. Both riders attempted to restart but were forced out of the final classification.
Having qualified ninth, Morais was tenth on lap one, until an attempted pass from Okubo in turn five resulted in a collision and then a fall for both riders.
In the championship standings Morais is 16th with nine points from his lone finish in Motorland Aragon last weekend. Okubo has two points and is ranked 26th in the championship after four races.
After their luckless weekend in the Netherlands the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team will reconvene at home, at a very different kind of classic and atmospheric circuit to Assen, Imola in Italy. Raceday is on May 13th.
Hikari Okubo, stated: “I want to say I am very sorry to the team because I made a big mistake, crashed, and hit my team-mate in a very bad way. After this race I will have a lot of things to think about. Very sorry again.”
Sheridan Morais, stated: “I did not really get to race as it was over after one lap. Hikari, I guess, tried to pass or made a mistake or something and rode into me in turn five. That made me crash and it was a quick end to my day. It is difficult to know what we could have expected from this race because of that.”
With some regular riders out, the top ESS rider was also the top Kawasaki finisher, Rob Hartog (Team Hartog Against Cancer), at his home round. He was seventh, making this the best race finish of his career in WorldSSP.
Wayne Tessels (Chromeburner Wayne’s Racingteam MTM) was 13th and scored points at his home round as a result. Nacho Calero (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 17th and Peter Sebestyen (SSP Hungary Team Kawasaki) 19th.
Michael Canducci (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) and Lachlan Epis (Team GoEleven Kawasaki) could not get to the finish today, both experiencing technical issues. Series regular Anthony West (EAB antwest Racing Kawasaki) could not start the race after suffering a forearm injury on Friday.
WorldSSP300: Grunwald clinches first WorldSSP300 win in chaotic last lap
Three riders go to the floor in final stages as Deroue becomes new championship leader
Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) stunned crowds to take the victory
Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team) grabbed his maiden FIM Supersport 300 World Championship win in only his second race in the category, after a notoriously chaotic last lap left three riders of the front group on the floor, including poleman Mika Pérez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team), MotorLand Aragon winner Koen Meuffels (KTM Fortron Junior Team) and 16-year-old Tom Edwards (Nutec – Benjan – Kawasaki).
In trademark WorldSSP300 fashion, the top ten riders were barely separated by a second, with the overtaking maneuvers coming fast and furious. Most of the laps, however, were led by local rider Koen Meuffels, first leader of the championship and who had been at the top most of the weekend. However, he slipped just reaching the last chicane, surrendering his championship lead to Scott Deroue (Motosport Kawasaki), who completed a second podium finish in third.
Ahead of Deroue, Glenn van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) repeated his second-place finish from last year. Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team), third on the grid, fought back from a poor start to finish the race in fourth, recording the race’s fastest lap in the process. She was just ahead of Walid Khan (Nutec Benjan – Kawasaki), fifth and the third Dutch rider in the top 5.
Behind them, and completing the top ten, were Mykyta Kalinin (GP Project Team), Dorren Loureiro (DS Junior Team), Jan Ole Jähnig (Freudenberg KTM Junior Team), Manuel Gonzalez (Pertamina Almeria BCD Junior Team by MS), and Maria Herrera (BCD Yamaha MS Racing), these last three with their first top-10 finishes in WorldSSP300.
P1 - Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team)
"It was a great race, there was a lot of fighting and a very hard race. T come away with a win with the bike we have is very good, so thanks to the team for getting the bike ready for the race win."
#DutchWorldSBK WorldSSP300 at TT Circuit Assen - Race
1. Luca Grunwald (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team)
2. Glen van Straalen (KTM Fortron Racing Team) +0.065
3. Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) +0.421
Deroue Leads Championship On Ninja 400
After an incredibly hectic last lap in the Assen race of the WorldSSP300 championship race a third place finish for local rider Scott Deroue (Motoport Kawasaki) saw him take the championship lead after two rounds.
Having started from tenth place Deroue was third in the race, by just 0.421 seconds after 12 laps of incredibly close action. He was part of a five-rider finishing group that contained three Kawasaki runners.
Added to his second place finish in round one at Motorland Aragon last weekend, Deroue has a four point championship advantage despite recent balancing rule changes that have affected the on-track performance of all the Kawasaki Ninja 400s in this class.
Ana Carrasco (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was fourth, and Walid Khan (Nutec - Benjan Kawasaki) was fifth, the latter 0.814 seconds from the winner as the final lap unfolded and multiple passing manoeuvres were made.
Mika Perez (Kawasaki ParkinGO Team) and Tom Edwards (Nutec - Benjan Kawasaki) both fell in pursuit of glory in the final lap, but Darren Loureiro (DS Junior Team Kawasaki) was seventh, 1.7 seconds down after an incredible race held in outstandingly sunny conditions. Deroue’s Dutch team-mate Robert Schotman (Motoport Kawasaki) had to retire from his home race.
After two intense rounds in which the Ninja 400 has proven itself so well already the next race will take place at Imola, Italy, with raceday on Sunday 13th May.
Scott Deroue, stated: “Of course I knew there would be a big front pack in this race and because of my bad grid position I was eager to be with the leaders. I succeeded and showed them that I was feeling strong this weekend. Staying out of trouble was my main objective, and that's not an easy task in this class. Although I couldn't take the victory I'm glad that I took a rostrum in front of my home crowd. I know the season just begun, but it's nice to be the leader of the championship after two rounds.”
Alex Murley In The WorldSSP300 Mix At The Cathedral Of Speed
British teenager Alex Murley made huge strides forward in the second round of the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen yesterday, finishing 17th at the end of a frantic 12 laps around the 2.8 mile ‘Cathedral of Speed.’
Murley who along with his other Yamaha mounted rivals struggled massively at the season opener in Spain a week ago were relieved to see new regulations brought in to reduce the speed differential facing them this season.
A red flag in qualifying made things difficult, with Alex missing out on completing his fastest lap when another rider fell, but the #18 Team Toth rider was ready to #PUSH come race day.
A great start soon saw him inside the top ten, and as the race progressed he was able to mount a challenge for 14th.
Losing out on the back straight on the final lap Alex was classified 17th but returned to Parc Ferme with a smile after a race long battle with many of the official Yamaha riders and knowing that the next races not only suit his style but that his R3 Yamaha will be more competitive.
Alex Murley: “It was a weekend of improvements at Assen, a track that I really like. We are making steps forward and that’s the main thing. Qualifying went wrong with a red flag but the race was good and I finally felt that we were in the fight. I started 28th on the grid but worked my way up to the group fighting for the final few world championship points which was satisfying. I know what I need to work on in Imola and the team knows what’s needed for the next races so we can hopefully move forward in Italy and start our season properly there. I am confident that when the bike is a little faster we will be able to bridge the gap to the top ten and get the results that we deserve. I want to thank all of my sponsors for standing by me through this tough early part of the season and look forward to fighting for points from round three onwards.”