2013 World Superbike Championship
This weekend, the 2013 World Superbike Championship heads to the “Cathedral” of motorcycle racing, Assen’s TT Circuit in the Netherlands.
The first race occurred there in 1925 on public roads in the province of Drenthe, and has a long history of WSBK competition. Since joining the The FIM World SBK Championship in 1992, the 2.8-mile circuit featuring 17 corners (11 left, six right) has hosted 42 races.
Leading the way in round three of 15 in World Superbike is Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli. The Frenchman has been extremely quick aboard his RSV4, finishing 1-2 at the season opener in Phillip Island, and taking a pair of seconds at Aragon World Superbike two weeks ago.
Due to this record, Guintoli leads the championship with 85 points, 22 ahead of the man who doubled at Aragon – BMW Motorrad GoldBet’s Chaz Davies.
And Guintoli has luck at Assen; last season while competing on the Effenbert Ducati 1198 R, Guintoli took his maiden SBK win in race one, and followed this up with second in race 2.
Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Superbike) says: “We come to Assen leading the championship and with growing confidence. In Aragon, I had to face my demons! Together with my team, we worked hard and manage to get 2 great results. Assen is a place with many great memories. I had my first world stage podium (with Aprilia!) in 250 back in 2003 and also my 1st WSBK victory last year. I am excited to race again on this fantastic track and to enjoy once again the RSV4.”
As for Guintoli’s teammate, Eugene Laverty didn’t have much luck at Aragon. The Irishman began Phillip Island with a 2-1 result, but suffered two DNFs in Aragon. He will be looking to redeem some points at Assen, where he won his Supersport races in 2009 and 2010, and had a best of second in World Superbike (race 2, last season).
The BMW S1000RR will once again be a big threat, especially the number 19 piloted by Davies. The Welshman won in Assen in 2011 en route to his World Supersport title, and will try to give BMW its first podium at the Dutch circuit; the S1000RR’s top finish in Assen was fourth by Davies’ teammate Marco Melandri.
Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet S1000RR Superbike) says: “After my double win at Aragon I am really looking forward to Assen. Obviously it is a confidence booster every time you win, but doing it twice really sets you up for the next races.
“I am very comfortable now with the RR and how I am feeling on the bike. On top of that, Assen is a circuit I enjoy and one that has been good for me in the past. Back in 2011, I celebrated my first World Championship victory there by winning the Supersport race, last year it was the first time for me to go through to Superpole 3 and I had a pretty decent pace in the dry.”
Although Melandri suffered a DNF in the opening round at Phillip Island due to a crash with Alstare Ducati’s Carlos Checa, he has finished on the podium twice and is currently fourth in the championship, two points behind Laverty in third (45 points).
There will be much excitement in the Pata Honda World Superbike paddock, considering Assen is a home round for the Nieuwleusen-based team.
Jonathan Rea has scored four of his 10 World Superbike race wins in Assen, at least one per year since 2010 on. Leon Haslam has taken three World Superbike podiums of his own at Assen in recent years, including a double, with second and third-place finishes, in his last races on a Honda in 2009.
Team Ducati Alstare’s Checa and Ayrton Badovini are hoping for better results at Assen. The two riders recently wrapped up a two-day private test at Jerez, allowing them to further tune their Ducati 1199 Panigale R superbikes.
The top finish so far for any Ducati was seventh in race one at Aragon with the 2011 World SBK Champ Checa at the controls of the Ducati.
Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes – the ZX-10R Ninja rider who finished a half-point behind 2012 WSBK Champion Max Biaggi (now retired) – will be looking to redeem himself after a DNF and sixth during last year’s race.
The Brit, who had a record nine Superpole wins in 2012 World SBK and took Superpole at Aragon, had a best finish of third at Aragon, and is currently sixth in the standings. His teammate, the Frenchman Loris Baz, will be back on Superbike machinery after participating in the 77th Bol d’Or FIM endurance race last weekend, which was won by Baz and STK1000 rider Jeremy Guarnoni aboard the SRC Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja.
As for FIXI Crescent Suzuki, the big news is that Leon Camier will participate. The Brit was questionable due to a left knee injury sustained during a wreck at Aragon, but he was confirmed to ride. Camier’s teammate Jules Cluzel has been within the top seven in three races, including his best of sixth during race one at Aragon.
2013 Assen World Superbike TV Schedule
beIN Sport will broadcast World Superbike live at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 28.
2013 World Superbike Point Standings (after two of 15 rounds):
1. Sylvain Guintoli, Aprilia: 85
2. Chaz Davies, BMW: 63
3. Eugene Laverty, Aprilia: 45
4. Marco Melandri, BMW: 43
5. Michel Fabrizio, Aprilia: 42
6. Tom Sykes, Kawasaki: 38
7. Jules Cluzel, Suzuki: 33
8. Loris Baz, Kawasaki: 31
9. Jonathan Rea, Honda: 30
10. Leon Haslam, Honda: 29
11. Davide Giugliano, Aprilia: 23
12. Max Neukirchner, Ducati: 20
13. Carlos Checa, Ducati: 17
14. Leon Camier, Suzuki: 14
15. Ayrton Badovini, Ducati: 12
16. Ivan Clementi, BMW: 9
17. Alexander Lundh, Kawasaki: 7
18. Federico Sandi, Kawasaki: 6
19. Glen Allerton, BMW: 6
20. Jamie Stauffer, Honda: 4
21. Vittorio Iannuzzo, BMW: 2