The second day of World Superbike action at the TT Circuit Assen began under wet conditions. But the rain held out for the 21-lap race, and the track rapidly dried, allowing for some serious lap times at the “Cathedral of Speed.”Tire choice was key, and 11 minutes into race riders began changing their wet tires for slicks. Soon after the slicks were sticky, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea went on a charge. He took the lead on lap 14 and keep it to the checkered flag. The Northern Irishman was able to continue his dominance at the Dutch circuit, earning his second double there.
Rea remains the top rider at Assen with a total of nine wins. Joining the reigning WSBK Champion on the Assen World SBK race-2 podium was teammate Tom Sykes, who finished 2.442 seconds. Earning the final podium position was Honda World Superbike Team’s Michael van der Mark, who finished 15.189 seconds behind; this was redemption for the Dutchman who crashed out of race one while in second.As for Rea, this was also his fifth win of eight races, and he extends his lead to 181 points – 45 ahead of Ducati Team’s Chaz Davies, who finished fifth in race 2. Rea now has 34 World SBK wins, placing him fourth overall behind leader the leader with 59, Carl Fogarty.Jonathan Rea says: “Our target this weekend was to increase our championship lead and we did that. I said to Pere my crew chief before the start of the race that the track should dry out pretty fast. We have had previous experiences like that. I have no idea why I go so well at Assen. It is nothing to do with the track itself. We got a double victory but it was not like Australia where I had more pace than the rest.“We controlled the situations this weekend when we had to, we were calm and clever when we had to be, and as a team our strength shone through to get two strong results. We got the maximum from what we could achieve here so I am super, super, happy with that. Our stars aligned this weekend and it worked out, so I am just happy.”Following is the official report:KRT rider Jonathan Rea took another incredible win in the Netherlands in Race 2 as a half wet half dry race saw tyre decisions play the key role. Joined on the podium by teammate Tom Sykes and local hero Michael van der Mark, Race 2 was characterized by nervous glances at the sky as the riders dealt their cards.Sunday morning initially brought better weather to the TT Circuit Assen, with the sun breaking through the clouds to give the Dutch track a crisp, clear morning. With a lower breeze after the wind caused issues on Saturday, the race looked set to be in dry conditions, before a deluge interrupted World Supersport and saw a Wet Race declared for WorldSBK.With Yamaha’s Sylvain Guintoli plummeting off the line, the two Kawasakis of Sykes and Rea took to the lead, with Chaz Davies’ Ducati and Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden’s Honda CBR1000RR SPs in hot pursuit. As the conditions caused quick position changes, it was Milwaukee BMW rider Josh Brookes who emerged in the lead, with the damp conditions suiting the reigning British Superbike Champion.Saturday Assen World SBK podium finisher Nicky Hayden, reigning Champion Jonathan Rea and local hero Michael van der Mark were the challengers, before Rea and Sykes were the first of the frontrunners to dive into the pits for dry tires as track conditions improved, followed by Van der Mark on the next lap.As the pack started to shuffle after the tire changes, Pedercini rider Lucas Mahias found himself at the head of the race, with KRT pairing Rea and Sykes hunting him down, followed by van der Mark. As dry tires became necessary, reigning Champion Rea took control of the race once again to take another win in WorldSBK and increase his Championship lead. Teammate Tom Sykes made a well-timed tire change to come home in P2 and recover some earlier lost ground, and Dutch rider Michael van der Mark remembered Saturday’s standing ovation after a crash and kept the Honda on the track to take another home podium, keeping his WorldSBK rostrum record at 75 percent at his home circuit.The 2015 STK1000 winner Lorenzo Savadori was another superstar decision maker as the IodaRacing rider took his Aprilia to P4 and his best ever result, followed home by Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who was the lead bike for the Borgo Panigale factory once again. Honda rider Nicky Hayden, who had been challenging for the lead in the dry, came home sixth after waiting a little too long to change to slicks, mindful of the grey skies ahead.Alex Lowes made up ground once again to end the race in P7 on his Pata Yamaha, in front of Davide Giugliano on the second Aruba.it Ducati. Leon Camier, after giving MV Agusta their best result of P4 in Race 1, again brought home a good haul of points in P9.Xavi Forés crossed the line to complete the top ten after an impressive showing at the start of the race, in front of front row starter Guintoli on the second Pata Yamaha YZF R1, with the points scorers completed by Roman Ramos, Lucas Mahias and the BMWs of Karel Abraham and Jordi Torres. Josh Brookes, after leading and impressing in the difficult conditions, sadly crashed out and was unable to complete the race on his Milwaukee BMW, but will be encouraged by his incredible early pace.WorldSBK is back on track at the mythical Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola at the end of April for round five of 15.
2016 Assen World Superbike Results, Race 2 Photo Gallery
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!