News 25 Apr 2010

WSBK: Rea wins first ever Superpole with new Assen record

Hannspree Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea won the first World Superbike Superpole prize of his career at Assen in the Netherlands overnight.

Rea scored his first ever Superpole at Assen.

Rea scored his first ever Superpole at Assen.

Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea won the first World Superbike Superpole prize of his career at Assen in the Netherlands overnight, after setting a new qualifying lap record of 1:34.944 at the home circuit of his Dutch-based team.

Rea is the only rider to have gone under the 1:35 mark on the new Assen layout, although Jakub Smrz (Pata B&G Ducati) came close with his second place time of 1:35.062.

Australian Troy Corser starts from the front row on his official BMW, the first time a BMW has started this high up in WSBK and continuing the team’s superb improvement of late.

World championship leader Leon Haslam went fourth for Suzuki Alstare, having spent most of practice working on race set-up, but having enough left to make a good job of Superpole.

The classic circuit of Assen once more played host to a tense period of practice and qualifying, with the new overall length of 4.542km making for new track bests in each class. Six of the seven competing WSBK manufacturers were represented in the top ten after three sessions of Superpole, with Rea’s new track best coming in the very final session.

Leon Camier made it five different makes in the top five on his Aprilia Alitalia RSV4, as he continues to strive to find a perfect set-up. Behind the leading handful of riders, the second row will be completed for Sunday’s 22-lap Superbike races by Carlos Checa, his teammate Shane Byrne and factory Ducati rider Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox).

Each rider had perfect conditions to run in, on the modified Assen circuit, with the top riders getting more and more used to the new 4.542km layout, with a major change at Ruskenhoek and a minor one at the right of Hoge Heide.

Of the eight riders who did not make the final Superpole 3 shoot-out, Cal Crutchlow was closest to the final session, with his Yamaha Sterilgarda teammate James Toseland just behind him and tenth on the grid.

Struggling to deal with his machine at this round, Max Biaggi was 11th overall on his Aprilia, Ruben Xaus 12th and a late faller in the second Superpole session.

Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki Alstare), Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) and Max Neukirchner (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) rounded out the top 16 places, and the fourth row of the starting grid.

The tense and unpredictable nature of Superpole came to the fore again when Superpole started, with comeback rider Chris Vermeulen crashing his Kawasaki Racing Team machine by high-siding at a fast section of track, but escaping uninjured. He missed out on Superpole 2, as did Luca Scassa (Supersonic Ducati) who was 17th quickest, Lorenzo Lanzi (DFX Corse Ducati) and ECHO CRS Honda rider Broc Parkes.

Only two riders, Matteo Baiocco and Roger Lee Hayden did not make Superpole this weekend, qualifying 21st and 22nd respectively.

Kenan Sofuoglu took pole position at Assen in World Supersport to give Ten Kate another home success, despite crashing in the final qualifying session.

The Turkish rider set a new best of 1:37.908, to hold off Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) who put in a 1:38.421 today.

Sofuoglu’s teammate Michele Pirro was third quickest, one place up on Joan Lascorz ( Kawasaki). Fabien Foret (Lorenzini by Leoni Kawasaki) went fifth just up on fastest ParkinGO BE1 Triumph, ridden by Matthieu Lagrive.

In Superstock 1000, Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) took his first pole of the 2010 season with a 1:39.105, ahead of Suzuki rider Davide Giugliano (Team06 Suzuki). Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) could not add to his pole total of two so far, and now starts this race third on the grid.

Michele Magnoni (SCI Garvie Image Honda) took the final place on the front row, in a class with 27 riders on the grid. Danilo Petrucci (Pedercini Kawasaki) was the highest-placed Kawasaki rider, sixth.

The Superstock 600 race saw Florian Marino (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) score his second win of the year and moved to within 11 points of the championship lead at Assen. He was only 0.154 seconds up on second place rider Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Racing Yamaha) who still leads the championship, on a new total of 61 points.

A close fight for third place saw Bernardino Lombardi (Martini Corse Yamaha) take the final podium place, from his team-mate Federico D’Annunzio and Fred Karlsen (MTM Yamaha).

Click here for detailed results

Jonathan Rea: “I am happy and excited to have won Superpole. I can’t quite believe that this is my first ever world championship pole, so it is good to win it. On a serious note, tomorrow is raceday and there will be at least three or four guys who have good pace, so it will be 22 long laps in each race.”

Jakub Smrz: “Practice and qualifying has gone pretty well, always in the first few places, and we all did a good job. The set-up and tyre choice is good but for sure in the race other guys will be very strong and I think it will be a tough race. A few things will depend on temperature tomorrow.”

Troy Corser: “This is my best qualifying for BMW so far, so I am pretty happy. The engineers have done a great job away from the track, we have done a fair bit of testing and it has definitely improved the bike. I feel more comfortable on the bike now and when you feel comfortable you push more, and can go a bit faster. I am looking forward to the race.”

Leon Haslam: “I am happy to have a front row start, because this weekend had been pretty tough and Jonathan has been fast – all the guys in front of me have. It has been a case for us of finding a set-up not just for a fast lap but for the race as well. The positions have been changing in practice but I have been happy with my lap times on race tyres.”

Michel Fabrizio: “Second row for tomorrow is not too bad after quite a difficult weekend. I thought that times would drop with the qualifiers but in the end I made my best laps on the race tyre. I’m happy with that, because the laps finally came together, and it gives me confidence for tomorrow’s races. It’s a breath of air after the last two difficult rounds. Tomorrow will of course be tough once again and I guess they’ll be some close racing but I’ll do my best to stick with the leaders.”

Noriyuki Haga: “I’m disappointed with today’s Superpole result. I was really pushing but the competition has the advantage here and I wasn’t able to put together consistently fast laps. I don’t quite understand what the problem is but I hope to make strong starts in tomorrow’s races and will do everything possible to take away as many points as I can.”

Sylvain Guintoli: “Yesterday was pretty bad and although today was better, I should’ve improved more and gone faster. At least today, I felt more confident in the front end and was able to push harder. But I didn’t get much feel from my qualifying tyres this afternoon and so couldn’t go any quicker. We need to do some more work on the rear end and tomorrow I need to make two really good starts and be in the leading group. If that doesn’t happen, it’s going to be a very long day indeed.”

Max Neukirchner: “I’m very disappointed, of course, because we felt we were really making some progress here. I got held up behind Haga in Superpole 2 but didn’t have enough to get by and, of course, you only get one real good lap out of a qualifier so that was it . We didn’t really find anything more after qualifying this morning and I wasn’t able to go any faster this afternoon. The bike is much better than it was in Valencia but the fourth row is still not good enough. I’ll do my best to get some good starts in the two races tomorrow and try to make up some places in the early laps.”

Tom Sykes: “We came here with open minds and with machine settings and lessons we learned from the previous round. It has been hard work around Assen so far and I have had to focus and concentrate to do the best lap times. But we are making progress and altering the bike to get the best from the whole package. We made changes to the front and rear, just to get a good balance on the bike. We also have some new ideas for tomorrow. We need to get away cleanly and I think we can set consistent lap times in the races.”

Chris Vermeulen: “I am really happy to be back racing but I am struggling a bit more than I expected in terms of just riding the bike the way I want. But it is good to be back on the bike and it should make the Monza race next time out that much better. I was trying a bit too hard when I crashed, but I wanted to get into Superpole 2. I am annoyed at the crash and part of the reason was the fact that we have lengthened the gap between the footpeg and the seat to help my knee bend enough, but that also makes it more difficult for riding technique. Because my leg does not have the power it did before, it gets tired very quickly. That means I have had to muscle the bike around with my arms. I am not injured after my fall, which is good. The tyres are pretty much chosen for tomorrow, but I will confirm that in warm-up.”