As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship returned to the TT Circuit Assen, a titanic three-way battle for the podium welcomed fans back to the circuit as Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) continued to make history with his 13th victory in Race 1 at the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round.
It means Rea becomes the first rider in WorldSBK history to win 13 times at a single circuit, having converted pole position into a win after he held off the challenge from his nearest rivals to claim more WorldSBK history. The race was Red Flagged with just a few of the scheduled 21 laps following a crash for Jonas Folger (Bonovo MGM Action) at Turns 6 and 7; after the German rider was on course for a career best WorldSBK result. Folger was conscious and taken to the medical centre for a check-up following the crash. The German rider will be transported to Assen Hospital for further assessments and has been declared unfit for the remainder of the round.
Rea fended off the challenge from both Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) throughout the duration of the race, with the trio battling each other throughout various stages of the race. Nothing could separate the three as the race entered the second half of the race, although a mistake from Redding allowed Razgatlioglu through for second place, but it also allowed Rea to jump ahead by a couple of seconds ahead of the battling duo, with Razgatlioglu and Redding continue to fight until the end; Redding finishing the race in second place ahead of Razgatlioglu after passing the Turkish star on Lap 16 to secure second place.
P1 Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
“I felt good from the get-go. Just a little bit of battling with Toprak. I wanted to get a clear track and do my rhythm because I knew that I could be a little bit faster and try to push away. At the end, I just had to manage a little bit as the rear tyre was dropping. I already took the best performance out of it. So happy, so happy to have these guys here in the grandstands. Looking forward to tomorrow. Now we have almost 21 laps under our belt because of the Red Flag. I hope the guy that went down is okay. Come back tomorrow with more info and try again.”
P2 Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)
“First of all, it’s great to have all the fans back here. It really gives emotion when you battle, you really feel the adrenaline, you push for every centimetre on the track. I hope you guys were entertained. I struggled a little bit in the beginning and then I got my pace. Then I started to fight Toprak and we gave Jonathan the time to go away. I felt I had the pace to close the gap but because I was fighting, I used a lot of the tyre. We ended up P2 and I’m happy with that. It’s good to be back on the podium and great to be here in Assen.”
P3 Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK)
“Normally, in the race, I was waiting until the last lap because I can follow Scott and see which corners he is slower in. I was waiting until the last lap, but we saw the Red Flag. I am not happy because in the first laps I was feeling good, but after the front tyre was destroyed and it wasn’t possible to follow Jonny. Tomorrow, we will see.”
WorldSBK TT Circuit Assen – Race 1
1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)
2. Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +3.093s
3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +3.214s
4. Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +4.478s
5. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) +6.139s
6. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +7.901s.
Championship Standings (after Race 1, Round 5)
1. Jonathan Rea (GBR) Kawasaki (206 points)
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) Yamaha (199 points)
3. Scott Redding (GBR) Ducati (137 points)
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Dorna WSBK Organization Srl