WSBK Netherlands (1): Rea winner ahead of Davies … and Van den Mark !
Jonathan Rea handled this first Superbike race in Assen perfectly, waiting for the very last laps to knock Chaz Davies out. But the star in the Netherlands this morning is Michael van den Mark, the first Dutch driver to reach a WSBK podium..
Jonathan Rea handled this first Superbike race in Assen perfectly, waiting for the very last laps to knock out Chaz Davies. But the star in the Netherlands this morning is Michael van den Mark, the first Dutch driver to reach a WSBK podium. He also interrupts the 100% British podium series in 2015.
First Superbike race
Fourth on the grid and third in the morning warm-up behind the two official Kawasaki (!), Michael van den Mark stands out when the red lights go out: his Fireblade rears up and the young Supersport champion lets many opponents pass….
Jonathan Rea started much better from his second place and took the lead in the first corner ahead of Tom Sykes, Leon Haslam, Chaz Davies, Alex Lowes, Sylvain Guintoli, Xavi Fores, VDM, Ayrton Badovini, Jordi Torres, etc. The two Ninja n ° 65 and 66 complete the first turn wheel to wheel, followed very closely by Davies, then Haslam and Lowes. Van den Mark leads the pack !
Lowes disappears from the leading group at the start of the second round. Davies overtakes Sykes and gets in the wheel of Rea who is still leading the race. Haslam instantly puts pressure on Sykes. "Magic Michael" climbed less than a second from the leading group and in its wake drove the second factory Ducati driven by Forés. Guintoli on the other hand could not hang on and rolls in front of Badovini and Torres.
Van den Mark and Forés make the junction on the 4th lap. In front, Sykes manages to slip his ZX-10R under Davies’ Panigale and recovers "his" second position. At the very start of the 5th lap, Van den Mark attacks Haslam and steals fourth place! The local driver has Welsh Davies in sight … as well as Englishman Sykes and Northern Irishman Rea !
Sykes valiantly shifts in the Ramshoek curve, just before the final chicane, but cannot complete his maneuver and remains behind the leader – of the race as of the championship – Johnny Rea. Behind, Leon Haslam slows down and loses a place in favor of Forés. But the public only has eyes for their Supersport champion who overtakes Davies in the chicane at the end of the 5th lap !
Chazie reacts at the other end of the circuit and makes the inside to Honda rider # 60 in Duikersloot. The battle between the two men allows Haslam and Forés to get closer. Guintoli is not definitively winning, nor Torres who is in eighth position, but less than three seconds from the two Kawasaki in the lead.
On the 8th lap, Randy de Puniet lost the front of his Suzuki on the first braking. His GSX-R1000 leaps towards the airfences and Randy collides with Alex Lowes who had just escaped in the same place. The two GSX-Rs are badly banged up but their pilots fortunately reach the outside of the track on their feet.
In front, Sykes was passed by Davies in the chicane at the end of the course. Ducati rider n ° 7 sticks to the wheel of Kawasaki n ° 65 while n ° 66 momentarily loses contact. The widely acclaimed # 60 Honda still sits in fourth place just ahead of the # 91 Aprilia and # 112 Ducati.
Seventh in the race at the end of the first half of the race, our world "Number One" lets his opponents slip away, just like Torres who no longer appears in the background. Our second French driver still in the race, Christophe Ponsson, is 17th.
Nine laps from the end, Sykes suddenly finds himself behind Van den Mark … and Haslam who takes advantage of the Dutchman’s attack in Ossebroeken to overtake the English Ninja in stride! Surprised, probably annoyed and maybe at the end of the roll of his rear Pirelli, "Major Tom" is left behind the following lap.
Van den Mark on the contrary does not let go! The young local of the stage delighted his fans by going up to Davies by approaching the chicane at the end of the 15th lap. In the next round, however, Michael goes overboard, widens and lets Leon Haslam pass..
In front, Jonathan Rea continues his impeccable race in front and remains just in front of Chaz Davies. Haslam and Van den Mark remain on the lookout at a few lengths, while Sykes is no longer able to fight for the podium. Forés and Torres fight for sixth place, Guintoli occupies a lonely eighth place.
"JR" pulls out four laps from the end and beats the best time of this first round, signed by Forés on the third round. Chaz Davies remains in his aspiration but Haslam and Van den Mark are dumped … The spectators are still ecstatic when their driver overtakes Aprilia n ° 91 three laps from the end.
On the penultimate lap, Johnny accelerates again and sticks to Chazie for almost a second. Sykes’ track record is broken by the No. 65 who flies to another victory: his fifth of the season! The championship leader confirms in the final loop and wins widely over Davies.
The crowd warmly applauds the winner of this first round, but above all congratulates Michael van den Mark who climbs on his first podium in the Superbike category! This is also a first for a Dutch driver … Can he double the stakes in the second round, or even improve his performance? Stay connected !
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