The following is from Honda…The glorious weather that blessed the entire World Superbike weekend at Assen was mirrored in the performances of the locally based Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team and its British rider Jonathan Rea. The 23-year old rider from Northern Ireland secured the first Superpole win of his career in qualifying, the new lap record and two race wins, boosting him to third in the championship.A two-day test at Assen in the period after the last round at Valencia allowed Jonathan and his Dutch crew to make a major change in his set-up, and this had instant and repeatable results at the new length Circuit van Drenthe.The podium ceremonies at Assen were all British affairs, with James Toseland (Yamaha) and Leon Camier (Aprilia) joining Jonathan in race one, and Leon Haslam (Suzuki) and Toseland again inside the top three in race two.Rea’s fellow Hannspree Ten Kate rider Max Neukirchner fell on lap five of race one, but remounted to finish in 20th place. He had been 16th in qualifying, making it to Superpole 2 but no further. In the second race he was a battling ninth, only nine seconds from the win as he made real progress with his set-up. Max is now 17th in the overall standings.ECHO CRS Honda’s Broc Parkes raced hard after qualifying for Superpole on Saturday, but went out of the first race with a technical issue on lap ten. He rallied in race two but could only finish 17th, missing out on points just as he had missed out on the first three championship rounds with a tibia fracture. Parkes was also stopped from taking part in the first practice session at Assen, having inadvertently missed the new rider’s briefing, and was only allowed out on track in the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon.Squadra Corse Italia Garvie Image entrant Vittorio Iannuzzo did not ride at Assen, due a hand injury suffered at the recent Valencia race.In the overall championship standings, Haslam has
148 points, Max Biaggi (Aprilia) is on 128, and Rea has now overtaken Carlos Checa (Ducati), with Jonathan on 110 points and Checa 103.The next race takes place at another historic circuit, Monza, on May 9.LAVERTY WINS IN FINE STYLE AS SOFUOGLU SETS NEW LAP RECORDParkalgar Honda’s Eugene Laverty took his second win of the year as he outpaced Kawasaki rider Joan Lascorz by 2.796 seconds at a new-look Assen circuit. In doing so he moved to within 19 points of the championship lead, held by Lascorz.Laverty took the race lead from Sofuoglu after only two laps and re-passed Lascorz immediately when the Spanish rider attempted to get by him shortly after, upping his pace and pressure to put clean air between Lascorz and himself. A small mistake near the end by Lascorz put paid to any final threat he posed to Laverty.Hannspree Ten Kate’s Kenan Sofuoglu was the pole man but despite leading for the first two laps, and setting a new lap record of 1’38.608 on lap 13, he could not stay with Laverty, and eventually Lascorz on the final lap. Sofuoglu is still second overall in the rankings after four of 13 rounds, on 77 points, and set a new track best lap of 1’37.908 on Saturday to take pole position in final qualifying.Honda is now ten points ahead of Kawasaki in the overall Manufacturers’ Standings, 95 points to 85.Rookie WSS rider Gino Rea, from the Intermoto Czech Honda team, took his CBR600RR to seventh place today, fighting with Katsuaki Fujiwara
(Kawasaki) and his own team-mate Massimo Roccoli.
Gino moved up in the rankings again, and is now sixth.Roccoli was ninth and out of sorts after a big crash last time out in Spain, while Parkalgar Honda’s Miguel Praia fought off the pain of his recent Valencia injury to finish a creditable tenth.Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider Michele Pirro fell on lap three of the race, rejoined, but had to retire in the pits, dropping to 11th in the championship in the process.WSBK Rider CommentsSBK Rider Quotes
Jonathan Rea, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 1st and 1st – 3rd overall. “It feels like a home win because I have spent the past two weeks here in my motor home behind the Ten Kate workshops. It has been great today and I could not have done this without my team. They gave me a fantastic bike. We changed the balance of the bike for this weekend and made it more comfortable. Both races are probably the smartest races I have ever ridden. I never got frustrated in traffic and when it was time to pull the pin I did. I am really happy with the double. It was a clean sweep, so I am proud as punch and I cannot wait to take this result on. I will savour the moment.”Max Neukirchner, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 20th and 9th – 17th overall. “We have changed the bike a lot this week and I adapted my riding style a bit better this morning in warm-up so we thought we could improve more in the race. The problem was that although the settings were the same I hadn’t ridden this new style, which requires braking further into the corner, with a full tank. Anyway, I ended up losing the front, but brought the bike home. We went harder at the front and the rear for race two and it worked for me, so it feels like a great step forward today.”Broc Parkes, ECHO CRS Honda: DNF and 17th – “My comeback weekend was a tough one, really tough with my injury, and we missed the first hour of practice as well. I am still struggling with the leg quite a bit, and we definitely have work to do before Monza. We have problems with set-up and hopefully we will find it before Monza.”WSS Rider CommentsEugene Laverty, Parkalgar Honda 1st – 3rd overall. “That was fantastic for us. I was not expecting to ride away at the front like I did at the end, but I knew the bike would be getting better as the race went on, so I stayed up there.
When Lascorz passed me inside I passed him again at turn three, which isn’t a regular passing place. The gap just kept going up and that left me an easy last lap compared to last year. A fantastic weekend and a big thank you to all the team.”Kenan Sofuoglu, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 3rd – 2nd overall. “It was not a really good race because at the beginning I felt I was the fastest but later in the race I could not pass them.
Maybe the warm conditions were not so good for my bike, as it was impossible to brake hard. It would have been nice to have won the race but I took the points and I go to Monza with the intention to do better than this.”Gino Rea, Intermoto Czech Honda: 7th – 6th overall. “I had a good battle and with someone unexpected as well in Fujiwara. Just to ride behind him was pretty shocking at the start. When I got behind him at the beginning I thought he could stay with the group in front and he would pull me up, but he was actually holding me up in quite a few places. He was late on the brakes, so that made it quite hard to overtake him. From there the group in front pulled away and had to beat both Fujiwara and Roccoli to the line. We are working in the right way, consistent, but we need to close the gap to the front group.”Massimo Roccoli, Czech Intermoto Honda: 9th – 9th overall. “It was a difficult weekend for me again after the crash in Valencia but the team did a very good job. I tried to push but I did not want to fall again. I like Assen but it is very difficult, so we did not make the best race but we scored some good points for the team and the bike was perfect.”Miguel Praia, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: 10th – 13th overall. “Coming here I was not feeling physically strong, after my crash in Valencia. We changed the handlebars on the bike again to help me and I felt more comfortable, but because I had so little mobility I could hardly move around on the bike at all. I was tenth but in these conditions it was a good result. The bike was fantastic, so it is just a shame I was not so fit.”Michele Pirro, Hannspree Ten Kate Honda: DNF – 11th overall. “My start was not so bad but I ran off track onto the gravel and when I got down to the hairpin I fell. I think maybe there was still some dust on the tyres. I got back on again but I had lost a footpeg and could not finish. I hope for better things at Monza next time.”The following is from Troy Corser…Troy left Assen today, happy with two fifth places on his BMW S 1000 RR and is already looking forward to his next race. After what seems a long time Troy now has a bike that can compete with the best, thanks to the recent good work done by the team.Troy got the holeshot, led the first race for ten laps and looked in command until his tyres started going off five or six laps or so before the end. He didn’t get the holeshot in race two, but charged past Jonathan Rea (Honda) after seven laps and once again controlled things from the front. This time his lead lasted four laps, but at least he showed that he and the bike can run at the front for more than just one lap. Rea won both 22-lap races today, much to the huge delight of his team who are based nearby. He had to fight for his first ever double and the second race will go down as one of the closest fought races in World Superbike history. James Toseland (Yamaha) took second in race one, with Leon Camier (Aprilia) third, making it a clean sweep of British riders. The second race saw another all-Brit podium, with Leon Haslam (Suzuki) second and Toseland third.Troy – Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 5th
The podium was not far off, but I’m really happy how today and this weekend has gone. It was really good to lead a race again – and not just for one lap! I felt very comfortable in the lead both times and enjoyed riding the bike without thinking about it. Now, I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike again and going racing! I always knew that we would get to this stage, but I didn’t know when it would happen. Our bike is as fast as anything out there, except for maybe the Aprilias, and the only thing I am missing now is getting out of the turns as quickly as some of my competitors. I suffered a bit in the final chicane, but was pretty much a match for everybody else in the rest of the track. The rear tyre didn’t last long enough in race one, so I had to adjust the electronics to compensate for it and that slowed me a little in the second part of the race.In race two, the rear was pretty chewed up at the end, but I was happy in both races because I felt I was actually racing for a podium, not just riding around for points.The racing was really close today and many times we nearly touched elbows or handlebars and it must have great viewing for the fans at the track and on TV. I got pushed out a few times, but it was all pretty fair and just normal for this series. Now that I am comfortable on the bike I don’t mind the cut and thrust because it is part of the package and I can give as good as I get. I know I probably don’t say this often, and probably not this season so far, but today I am very happy!See ya,
TroyThe following is from Yamaha…Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike rider James Toseland made every lap count in Assen today, storming to two podium finishes and claiming hard earned points which move him up the championship table. The first race saw the British rider tear through the pack from his tenth place grid start position, making short work of his competitors with clean decisive overtakes, making up eight places to sit in second by just past mid-race point behind leader Jonathan Rea. An inspired overtake three laps to the end on the penultimate corner saw him temporarily lead the race, however Rea was able to get past at the end of the start straight, securing the win just 1.1 seconds ahead of Toseland. Team-mate Cal Crutchlow had a great start, making it up to sixth on the first corner before a bunched up pack of riders pushed him wide, dropping him to 13th initially. He fought back with a determined push and was the fastest lapping rider mid way through. He finally crossed the line in eighth having made up five positions on the tricky to overtake circuit.Race two and again Toseland charged through the pack, making fifth position by lap seven. He spent several laps following a furious battle in the top four between Haslam, Rea, Corser and Camier before slipping through and fighting his own battle to take third. Positions changed several times in the tightly bunched pack however he held onto third over the line for his second podium of the day. Team mate Crutchlow had a less fortunate race, with a technical issue with the rear suspension forcing an early retirement.
Toseland now heads to the next round in Monza having climbed to fifth position in the standings on 86 points, just 17 behind Carlos Checa in fourth. Team-mate Crutchlow remains in tenth position just four points behind Michel Fabrizio in ninth.
James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, (2nd, 3rd)
“We’ve had another tough weekend, especially Friday and Saturday, but we’ve pulled through. Once again the team has worked fantastically well, especially this morning, we had a new linkage system on the rear end just to try and sort some issues and it seems to have worked. It’s been a long weekend but to come from tenth on the grid and get a second and a third, two podiums is just a great result for me and the team. It’s been coming slowly, we’ve come from far behind in the first two races so it’s fantastic to be up there at the front and fighting. There are a lot of Brits out there, and we’re all racing at the front and doing a great job, everybody deserves to be in it. I’ve had great support from my family and friends and want to thank everyone for supporting me in getting back to where I should be.”
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team, (8th, DNF )
“It’s been a very frustrating end to the weekend for me, I know I had the pace to achieve really good results and be up there fighting with the front guys in both races. I made a good start in the first but lost a lot of places on the first corner when the pack pushed me wide, but fought back and was one of the fastest riders on the track mid-race. Race two was even more frustrating as I was determined and ready to fight for a podium. Unfortunately the technical issue was out of my control so there was nothing I could do.”Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
“We had a great result today, especially considering how we got it, after a lot of challenges over the last two days. James also put all his heart into his racing today. I’m sorry for Cal, I think he had the ability to have a great two races, especially in the second one. Unfortunately we had a technical issue, we don’t know what yet but we will figure it out. We’ve made big advances with our electronics and also with our chassis which could be seen with James’s performance. We are now getting to a point where we have a very competitive bike with a set up that works on different tracks, but obviously we will continue to work for the next level. We head to Misano for testing next week motivated to keep on improving. A big thank you to all the team and the riders who worked so hard this weekend.”In the European Superstock 600 Championship MRS Racing rider Jeremy Guarnoni took an impressive second place podium finish, less than two hundredths of a second off the front and earning 20 championship points on his Yamaha R6. He maintains his position as the championship leader, 11 points ahead of his closest rival after three rounds.The following is from Ducati…A difficult fourth World Superbike round for Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio at the TT Circuit of Assen.In Race 1 neither Noriyuki or Michel got off the line particularly fast, Noriyuki in 13th and Michel dropping to 14th position from eighth on the grid. For the first half of the race the Ducati Xerox riders oscillated between 13th and 16th position and by mid-race they found themselves in a duel with the two Suzukis of Haslam and Guintoli. When the Suzuki riders made some mistakes, Nori was able to pass both of them and Michel too got by Guintoli. Over the 22 laps Noriyuki made up several places, to move from sixteenth at the end of lap two to tenth, the position he held from lap seventeen until the finish line. Michel closed Race 1 in thirteenth position.The Ducati Xerox men made similar starts to Race 2. Noriyuki went wide at the first corner when he tried to pass riders by going around the outside. Feeling strong vibrations from the engine of his 1198, which only became worse during the first couple of laps, and realizing there was an engine problem, Noriyuki was forced to return to the box, thus retiring from the race. Michel, in the first half of the race, had a good pace which allowed him to make up a few positions but he then suffered from a sudden drop in the performance of the rear tyre which badly affected his lap times; he concluded the race in twelfth position.After this fourth round of the World Superbike Championship, Japanese rider Noriyuki lies in sixth position in the general standings, with 85 points. His team-mate Michel is in ninth with 53 points. Ducati is in third position in the manufacturers classification, with 130 points to Aprilia’s 134 and Suzuki’s 148.Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 10th , Race 2 – DNF)
“It was a very difficult day for us today. In Race 1 I didn’t make the good start that I needed to, and from the fourth row I had to push very hard even to make up one or two positions. In Race 2, I realized already during the warm-up lap that the engine vibrations I was feeling were maybe stronger than normal. I hoped it wouldn’t be a problem and started the race but it became worse as I rode and I knew there was something wrong technically. It’s very disappointing of course because this year, more than ever, it’s important to be consistent – there are so many of us fighting for the positions that count and it’s becoming more and more of a battle.”Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – 13th , Race 2 – 12th)
“In Race 1 I got off to a bad start and it was difficult to match the pace of those ahead of me. We made a few changes to my 1198 between the two races and for the first half of race 2 it was better; I was able to push hard and make up a few places. But then, in the second half of the race, practically from one lap to the next, the rear tyre performance dropped dramatically. I risked falling a couple of times and realized I had to take it easy if I wanted to finish the race. I’m looking forward to Monza where I hope we can perform a lot better in front of my home crowd.”