Something unique occurred Sunday during round three of the 2015 World Superbike Championship at the historic Assen TT Circuit in the Netherlands.
The top-six riders finished in the same positions in both races. Leading this group was the man who has chased a SBK title since joining the series in 2009 – Jonathan Rea.
The Northern Irishman, who joined Kawasaki Racing Team for 2015, earned the double at Assen. This was his fourth win in six races, which includes another double win in Thailand.
Rea led all 21 laps of race one from start to finish, setting a new lap record in Assen of 1:35.889. But there was a bit more work involved in race two. During the second race, Assen SBK pole sitter Tom Sykes led the opening 12 laps aboard his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R Ninja, but Rea took over on lap 12. Rea went on to take the win – his sixth this season – the 19th of SBK career.
Joining Rea on the podium in both races were Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies and Team Pata Honda World Superbike’s Michael van der Mark, respectively.
“I feel awesome to win two races here. Today has been amazing and like in Thailand I need to sit down and savor this moment. There was a lot of pressure on me coming here, everyone talking about how Assen was my circuit, so I am just happy to deliver. We chose a different rear tyre in race two and it worked out well,” Rea says.
“Race two was slightly different because I knew Tom would be fast in the beginning. The race was a bit faster at the start and slower at the end because of that. When Chaz put a pass on me and I saw Tom slowing I knew that it could end up to be a messy fight so I wanted to get straight back into the lead and make it my race. This one is for all my mechanics who have been working tirelessly and all the people at KHI. Hopefully now we can go to Imola and do a similar job – but this one feels very special.”
Rounding out the top six in both races were Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils’ Leon Haslam, Sykes, and Haslam’s teammate Jordi Torres, respectively.
As for America’s Team Hero EBR, which continues to compete regardless of the Erik Buell Racing shutdown, Team Manager Larry Pegram retired from both races, and Nicolo Canepa finished 15th in race one, and retired from race two.
With his double win, Rea now has 190 points after three of 13 rounds – 50 ahead of Haslam. Davies is in third with 123 points, and Sykes in fourth with 88.
The series now breaks for three weeks ahead of round four at Imola.
Following are the official race recaps:
2015 Assen World Superbike Results, Race 1 Report:
The opening Dutch WorldSBK race at the TT circuit was won in emphatic style by Jonathan Rea who set a new lap record on the penultimate lap to record his sixth win at Assen, the fifth of his 2015 championship campaign.
After a 21 lap fight involving for a number of laps 6 riders, Rea eased away from eventual 2nd place finisher Chaz Davies with 2 laps to go to secure another win for the Kawasaki Racing Team, coming home a second ahead of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team rider.
Michael van Der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) became the first Dutchman in the history of WorldSBK to stand on the podium in 3rd after displacing Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who finished 4th, with an impressive move through the fast left hander of Ramshoek on the penultimate lap, which had the packed grandstands on their feet.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) ran strongly in the opening laps before fading to fifth. The former champion looked to suffer in the latter stages with lack of grip.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) recovered from an average start to overhaul compatriot Xavi Fores for sixth in the final five laps leaving Fores to claim seventh at the flag after he had been as high as fifth in the early stages.
Reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) had a lonely ride to eighth, coming home five seconds ahead of Nico Terol (Althea Racing) and Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who crossed the line almost side by side to finish 9th and 10th respectively.
The Voltcom Crescent Suzuki pairing of Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet went down together at Turn 1, the Frenchman crashing alone and collecting his team mate who appeared to have run straight on. Both riders were unhurt.
2015 Assen World Superbike Results, Race 2 Report:
The second WorldSBK race of the day at the iconic TT circuit of Assen in the Netherlands served up another nail-biting climax that once again had the crowd on their feet as the leading riders stayed locked together until the final lap. As he had in race one Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took the win ahead of Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team).
Rea’s win in race two is the second double that he has achieved at Assen making him the second most successful rider come race day in the history of the Dutch Round, giving him a career best run of nine consecutive podium finishes.
Another brave move through the penultimate corner saw local rider Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) grab a double podium with another third place place after nudging aside Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils), the Brit claiming 13 points with a fourth place finish.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) again led in the early laps before fading to fifth ahead of Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) who fought hard to recover from another average start to sixth.
Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) finished one place higher than he managed in race 1, bringing his CBR1000RR SP home in seventh ahead of Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team), while Alex Lowes had a much better race on his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki finishing ninth. Tenth place went to Leon Camier,who brought his MV Agusta Reparto Corse machine home in another solid top-ten position.
The final point scoring finishers in positions 11th to 15th were Matteo Baiocco (Althea Racing), Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia), David Salom (Team Pedercini), Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing) and Roman Ramos (Go Eleven Kawasaki).
Nico Terol (Althea Racing) crashed out of contention on lap 4, suffering a wrist fracture, while Randy de Puniet retired once again with his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki.
2015 Assen World Superbike Results, Photo Gallery: