Spoiler alert: 2017 Assen World Superbike results listed belowAhead of round four of the 2017 World Superbike Championship at the classic TT Circuit at Assen, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea was undoubtedly the favorite.
The 30-year-old ZX-10RR pilot had won five of six races so far this season, and also won nine races at the Dutch Circuit.The Northern Irishman wasted zero time getting up to speed, topping the practice sessions ahead of earning the pole. Unfortunately, due to an incident late in the 15-minute Superpole session with Aruba.it Racing Ducati’s Chaz Davies, Rea was penalized three places and was forced to start from fourth on the grid. This gave Rea’s teammate Tom Sykes the pole.The penalty didn’t affect Rea’s performance during Saturday’s race one. Rea would battle with Davies to the final 21st lap when Davies’s Ducati 1199 Panigale R suffered a technical issue, allowing Rea to take an easy victory. In race one, Rea finished 4.5 seconds ahead of Sykes and 13 seconds ahead of the other factory Ducati rider, Marco Melandri.Rea continued his dominance in race two at Assen World Superbike, which was his 200th WorldSBK race start. He took the victory by a mere 0.025 of a second ahead of Sykes. Davies was able to redeem himself with third—his sixth podium out of eight races so far this season.The win was Rea’s 11th at Assen since joining World Superbike in 2009 with Honda (joined Kawasaki in 2015), and his seventh of 2017 World Superbike. It was also Rea’s 45th career win—30 of those aboard a Kawasaki ZX-10RR Ninja.Following race two, Jonathan Rea said: “It has been an incredible weekend of racing. I have been especially happy with Superpole yesterday because the lap I made then was maybe the best lap I have ever made on a bike. I am really proud of that. Of course the race wins were really nice to take away. Today was a race of two halves.“In the first half I raced hard until I got a warning so in the second half I just managed things to try and be safe and bring her home. I had a little bit left at the end but the biggest problem was the wind today. I was pulling a gap but then I had a huge front slide in T11, and my foot came off the peg, at mid-race distance. I decided just to ride and save something for the last laps after that. I had a big wobble coming out of 11 again near the end and I then just tried to be clever in the last lap and cover the last corner. My line was probably not the fastest way around there but it covered any move up the inside and I made it to the line first.”
Tom Sykes also replied: “It was a very close finish and I have to say thanks to the public, my fans and all the team for being very understanding about my physical condition. Yesterday we had an acceptable race but today we never stopped pushing to find an ideal set-up, right up until 30 minutes before the race started. Marcel and I were still talking about how to get the bike easier for me to ride.“Physically, I was obviously not fully comfortable with the bike set-up from yesterday but today I felt we had a package capable of winning. I just did not have the bike in the right place at the right time and did not get the win for that reason. I always kept trying and I am obviously disappointed not to take the win. But considering where I was even at the start of the race week, if anybody had have offered me two second places from Assen I would have thought it was never going to happen.”After four of 13 rounds, Rea now has a near perfect 145 points, 64 ahead of Sykes and 11 ahead of Davies. The series now breaks for two weeks ahead of Imola World Superbike May 13-14.