The World Superbike grid headed to the Cathedral of Speed in Assen for the Dutch round of the championship.
SP1 saw Xavi Fores and Nicky Hayden through to SP2, after swiftly knocking Randy Krummenacher from the top. The amount of riders hanging around waiting for a tow was something that we didn’t think we’d see in the Superbike class – it was like watching Moto3.
But SP2 was where everything really kicked off. Rea crossed the line at the checkered flag, but Ducati’s Chaz Davies still had one flying lap left to complete. There was no chance that Davies was improving his time, but he came to blows with Rea as he was cruising on the racing line. Arms were flying in protest, but fast forward to parc ferme – that’s where it kicked off. As Davies claimed there was “great sportsmanship from Rea, not,” Rea was adamant that he wasn’t on the racing line at all. After some very choice language was heard, race direction made the decision to penalise Rea with a three place grid penalty – demoting him to 4th on the grid.
Going into race one, Tom Sykes took his first pole of the year, followed by Chaz Davies and Lorenzo Savadori, who is returning from injury.
It was only at the first corner in the race that we saw Michael van der Mark run off. The local man was determined to do well at this circuit, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be for him, as three laps later he suffered a big highside.
Davies took the lead, but Rea’s grid demotion certainly didn’t faze him as he got a strong start and was soon fighting with team mate Sykes for 2nd. They frequently swapped positions, but eventually Rea had the edge and set his sights on Davies who was slipping away at the front.
Rea caught Davies very early on, but was biding his time and waiting for the correct moment to pass, which came with 4 laps to go. Rea slipped in front and managed to make off, but just as it looked as if Davies would be close enough to make a move, he suffered a mechanical on the penultimate. With Davies out and Sykes far behind, Rea sailed through the last lap to take an easy win ahead of Sykes and Melandri.
World Superbike race 1 results
Jonathan Rea – Kawasaki Racing Team
Tom Sykes – Kawasaki Racing Team + 4.501s
Marco Melandri – Aruba.it Ducati Racing + 17. 673s
Xavi Fores – BARNI Ducati + 22.569s
Lorenzo Savadori – Milwaukee Aprilia + 30.797s
Stefan Bradl – Red Bull Honda WSBK Team + 33.530s
Roman Ramos – Team Kawasaki Go Eleven + 39.176s
Eugene Laverty – Milwaukee Aprilia + 39.254s
Leandro Mercado – IODARacing + 39.266s
Leon Camier – MV Agusta Reparto Corse + 41.493s