Rea Streaks in Assen World Superbike

Henny Ray Abrams | April 17, 2011

Castrol Honda’s Jonathan Rea won his first race of the year by holding off the constant advances of Alitalia Aprilia’s Max Biaggi over 22 laps of the famed Circuit van Drenthe in Assen, Holland.Rea took the lead from pole-sitter and championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) on the fourth lap, with Biaggi getting by the Spaniard a lap later. For the final 17 laps the pair pulled away, with Biaggi looking for an opening and Rea never putting a wheel wrong.Over the final handful of laps Rea was able to stretch his advantage to win by .739 of a second. Biaggi was second and Checa third, 2.22 seconds behind the winner.The win was Rea’s third in a row at Assen, the home track for his Netherlands-based Ten Kate Racing team.Checa continues to lead the championship after maintaining his perfect record of podium finishes. The Spaniard, who has three wins and two seconds, has 107 points to 85 for Yamaha’s Marco Melandri. Melandri started slowly – he was 10th on the first lap – before fighting his way back to fourth with a pass of Suzuki Alstare’s Michel Fabrizio, the fifth-place finisher, five laps from the end. The pair was separated by .384 of a second.BMW Motorrad’s Troy Corser was alone in sixth, with Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty wasting his first front-row start by finishing a distant seventh.Ruben Xaus was eighth on the second Castrol Honda, while Ayrton Badovini was ninth for BMW Motorrad Italia. The first Kawasaki was Mark Aitchison on the Team Pedercini ZX10R in 10th.There were 14 finishers and seven who didn’t, including Kawasaki’s Chris Vermeulen in his return to racing.

Race One:

1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)

2. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)

3. Carlos Checa (Ducati)

4. Marco Melandri (Yamaha)

5. Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki)

6. Troy Corser (BMW)

7. Eugene Laverty (Yamaha)

8. Ruben Xaus (Honda)

9. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)

10. Mark Aitchison (Kawasaki)


Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.