News 26 Apr 2010

WSBK: Rea wins Dutch double at Assen for Ten Kate Honda

Ten Kate Honda's Jonathan Rea gave his team a home victory at Assen in the Netherlands on Sunday afternoon.

Rea took a double WSBK victory at Assen on Sunday.

Rea took a double WSBK victory at Assen on Sunday.

The venerable Assen circuit has seen many moments of drama but the latest 4.542km version delivered two Superbike World Championship races on Sunday that were right up there with the very best.

The local fans enjoyed two partial home wins as well, as Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea was victorious in each 22-lap race, riding for a squad based in the Netherlands. He had to work hard on a sunny afternoon in Holland to make sure he headed up two podiums ceremonies that featured British riders in each and every place for the first time since 2003.

Rea won a close opening race at Assen with two strong laps right at the end, finishing one second ahead of fellow Britons James Toseland (Yamaha Sterilgarda) and Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia). This was Camier’s first SBK podium finish, and it was memorable one.

Slow-starting Carlos Checa (Althea Ducati) was a good fourth, with the BMW of Troy Corser fifth, having led for much of the race. Leon Haslam (Alstare Suzuki), the championship leader, struggled to 11th with a partial puncture. Suzuki, Ducati, Aprilia and now Honda machines have all won races in WSB so far this year.

The last double win for Honda happened in the UK in 2008 but today Jonathan Rea took a double on his CBR1000RR in the Netherlands, by winning race two by 1.942 seconds. The extent of his final victory did not do justice to the second combative race of the day, with the top six or seven riders frequently riding and fighting as one.

Haslam overcame his race one troubles to go second. Third was James Toseland to give the second all British podium of the day. Max Biaggi was a strong fourth, Troy Corser fifth, after another classic race at the classic circuit of Assen. Sixth came Phillip Island race winner Carlos Checa on his Althea Ducati, only just ahead of another Ducati privateer, Pata B&G racing rider Jakub Smrz.

In the points table, Haslam now has 148, Biaggi 128, Rea 110 and Carlos Checa 103. Rea doubled his career win total to four today, and in going third overall renewed a championship challenge that was waning after some recent disappointing results.

Rea left Assen with the Superpole win, the new lap record of 1:36.312 (set in race two) and two wins.

Australian hero Corser could not quite get to the fourth place he scored in Valencia at the previous round but this weekend’s two fifth places were even more impressive rides, particularly when added to the fact that Corser topped combined qualifying, and was third fastest in Superpole on Saturday. Corser is now overall seventh, on 68 points. Ruben Xaus fell in race one but got a top ten in race two on the other factory BMW.

A troubled time for the official Ducati team continued at Assen, as Noriyuki Haga (Ducati Xerox) retired in race two, and was only 11th in race one. His team-mate Michel Fabrizio scored in each race, 13th and 12th respectively. Checa was the highest placed Ducati rider today, fourth in the opener.

In World Supersport, Eugene Laverty (Parkalgar Honda) made it two wins in consecutive seasons at Assen, as he also won his second race of 2010 today.

In second place, Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki now leads the title battle on 85 points, with third place finisher at Assen, Kenan Sofuoglu (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda), second in the series on 77 points. Laverty is now third overall, on 66 points, with nine races to go.

Chaz Davies took his Triumph ParkinGO BE1 machine to fourth place, ahead of Matthieu Lagrive’s similar bike. Davies is not top Daytona 675 rider overall, fourth on 46 points.

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia) won his third Superstock 1000 race in succession today, outpacing pole man Maxime Berger (Ten Kate Race Junior Honda) and Davide Giugliano (Team 06 Suzuki).

Three podium places occupied by three different makes of machinery. Michele Magnoni (SCI Honda Garvie Image) was fourth in the race, a second up on Sylvain Barrier (BMW Garnier) after Loris Baz (MRS Yamaha) fell late in the race. After three rounds, Badovini now has 75 points, Giugliano 45, with Berger and Barrier on 40 points each.

Click here for detailed results

Jonathan Rea: “It has been great and I could not have done this without my team. They gave me a fantastic bike. We changed the balance of the bike for this weekend and made it more comfortable. Both races are probably the smartest races I have ever ridden. I never got frustrated in traffic and when it was time to pull the pin I did. I am really happy with the double. It was a clean sweep, so I am proud as punch and I cannot wait to take this result on. I will savour the moment.”

James Toseland: “To come from tenth on the grid to take a second and a third was a great result for the team and myself. It has been coming slowly but it was nice to get two consistent podium results. I said before the season started there could be some British 1-2-3 results, and there are a lot of British riders out there. But we are all running up the front and doing a fantastic job, so we deserve to be there. It is great for the fans in the UK and I am sure we are all looking forward to Silverstone.”

Leon Camier: “It was a bit hotter today than the previous days so we were moving around a bit, but it was awesome to get a result for Aprilia. They have put a lot of effort into me, and good faith. It is gradually coming together, and now we are getting some good results.”

Leon Haslam: “Race one was definitely the hardest race I have ever had, battling against a puncture, bit it is just one of those things. To get back on the podium in race two was great. I had a really great battle with Johnny and it was really good. There was a bit of argy-bargy out there and it was disappointing not to challenge in the last couple of laps. But, my second place extended my championship lead again, so it’s all good.”

Max Neukirchner: “We have changed the bike a lot this week and I adapted my riding style a bit better this morning in warm-up so we thought we could improve more in the race. The problem was that, although the settings were the same I hadn’t ridden this new style, which requires braking further into the corner, with a full tank. Anyway, I ended up losing the front, but brought the bike home. We went harder at the front and the rear for race two and it worked for me, so it feels like a great step forward today. I can’t wait to get to Monza – not only to close the book there after last year’s crash, but to improve the bike further. I’m also very happy for Johnny, who did a great job here this weekend. In fact, it’s been a good step forward for the whole team.”

Sylvain Guintoli: “This was a weekend to forget and I don’t really even want to think about it anymore. It didn’t start well and never really improved. It did get a bit better yesterday and I might have been able to rescue something if I had managed to find my rhythm today. But I didn’t, and having a problem with another rider in race two didn’t help either. I’m not sure if it was Sykes or Lanzi but there was an impact and that affected the steering of my bike. I was lucky not to crash, but I thought I might as well keep going and see what happened. The steering felt strange and I just could push any harder. I think it’s better I forget today and start thinking about the next race in Monza, because that is something positive.”

Noriyuki Haga: “It was a very difficult day for us today. In Race 1 I didn’t make the good start that I needed to, and from the fourth row I had to push very hard even to make up one or two positions. In Race 2, I realized already during the warm-up lap that the engine vibrations I was feeling were maybe stronger than normal. I hoped it wouldn’t be a problem and started the race but it became worse as I rode and I knew there was something wrong technically. It’s very disappointing of course because this year, more than ever, it’s important to be consistent – there are so many of us fighting for the positions that count and it’s becoming more and more of a battle.”

Michel Fabrizio: “In Race 1 I got off to a bad start and it was difficult to match the pace of those ahead of me. We made a few changes to my 1198 between the two races and for the first half of race 2 it was better; I was able to push hard and make up a few places. But then, in the second half of the race, practically from one lap to the next, the rear tyre performance dropped dramatically. I risked falling a couple of times and realized I had to take it easy if I wanted to finish the race. I’m looking forward to Monza where I hope we can perform a lot better in front of my home crowd.”

Cal Crutchlow: “It’s been a very frustrating end to the weekend for me, I know I had the pace to achieve really good results and be up there fighting with the front guys in both races. I made a good start in the first but lost a lot of places on the first corner when the pack pushed me wide, but fought back and was one of the fastest riders on the track mid-race. Race two was even more frustrating as I was determined and ready to fight for a podium. Unfortunately the technical issue was out of my control so there was nothing I could do.”

Troy Corser: “The podium was not far off, but I’m really happy how today and this weekend has gone. It was really good to lead a race again – and not just for one lap! I felt very comfortable in the lead both times and enjoyed riding the bike without thinking about it. Now, I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike again and going racing! I always knew that we would get to this stage, but I didn’t know when it would happen. Our bike is as fast as anything out there, except for maybe the Aprilias, and the only thing I am missing now is getting out of the turns as quickly as some of my competitors. I suffered a bit in the final chicane, but was pretty much a match for everybody else in the rest of the track. The rear tyre didn’t last long enough in race one, so I had to adjust the electronics to compensate for it and that slowed me a little in the second part of the race. In race two, the rear was pretty chewed up at the end, but I was happy in both races because I felt I was actually racing for a podium, not just riding around for points.
The racing was really close today and many times we nearly touched elbows or handlebars and it must have great viewing for the fans at the track and on TV. I got pushed out a few times, but it was all pretty fair and just normal for this series. Now that I am comfortable on the bike I don’t mind the cut and thrust because it is part of the package and I can give as good as I get. I know I probably don’t say this often, and probably not this season so far, but today I am very happy!”

Tom Sykes: “After Superpole the boys and I had a look at the data and to their credit they came up with a good idea for warm-up, which was a vast improvement. We suddenly found some extra pace and were fast and consistent for this session. In race one I had an OK start but the weather conditions were a lot warmer than in the morning warm up. I got away in the top 10-11 and was holding my own but gradually lost a lot of grip in the front towards the end of the race and had to settle for 12th. Race two was a big disappointment for me as I got caught up with some desperate riders who made a mistake on lap one and I paid the price. Both the team and I were gutted as we were looking really good for an improved result for race two.”

Chris Vermeulen: “We finished both races, one in the points. It was difficult to race and I had painkillers and taping on the knee all weekend. We managed to get there even if the bike set-up was not ideal because we had to compromise the settings and my riding position because of the injury. But that side is only going to get better. I am hoping it will be 100% better by the time we get to Monza but it may not be. With two more weeks of physiotherapy my knee will improve and I will see how we are in Italy. Scoring points is a real positive we can take out of this weekend.”