Photography by Gold & Goose
For race one of the Assen World Superbike race the track went from damp to drying and it was Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli who mastered the dodgy conditions best and won the event, which was red flagged with four laps to go with oil on the track.
The early stop to the race put an end to what promised to be an exciting finish. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes recovered from running off the track and was gradually closing in on the race leader when the red flags flew. Honda’s Jonathan Rea scored a solid third in race one.
It marked Guintoli’s second victory of the season and moved him past Baz into second in the standings, six points behind Sykes.
Conditions were dicey at the start with a dry line, but a damp track elsewhere. Sylvain Guintoli proved bravest in the conditions early, sprinting to a strong lead in the opening laps. Rea ran second and Sykes moved up to third.
One of the leading contenders, Davide Giugliano fell early, having gotten off the dry line.
On lap six Sykes also got caught out and ran wide off the track and dropped a couple of spots. That temporarily put Rea back to second and pole winner Baz to third. It didn’t take long for Sykes however to make up for the error and with a few laps he was back to second.
Up front Guintoli continued to pull away at a pace about 7-10ths a second per lap faster.
Lap seven saw a lot of action. Aaron Yates pulled off the track with his EBR smoking. That same lap Eugene Laverty, who won a round here last year, crashed out while trying to work his way into the top six. Then Rea outbraked Baz and made a very tight pass to get back to third.
At the halfway mark Sykes began lapping faster that Guintoli and closing the gap to under five seconds.
There was a great four-way battle for fifth going much of the race between Toni Elias, Chaz Davies, Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.
Sykes was steadily closing in on Guintoli when with four laps to go the red flag stopped the race. It appeared a blown motor spewing blue smoke on Geoff May’s EBR may have been the culprit. That gave Guintoli the victory, Sykes was at that point only about 1.2 seconds back with Rea rounding out the podium finishers. You could tell by his body language on the cool down that Sykes was a bit frustrated at the early end to the race.
Niccolo Canepa was the top EVO rider on the Althea Racing Ducati, finishing 10th.
After the race Guintoli admitted that he knew Sykes was coming.
“I was concerned,” he said. “I was trying to keep my rhythm. At the start I took a lot of risks in the first laps. I thought being the first race I knew I would struggle a little in the end, so I took some big risks and it paid off. In the end he (Sykes) was coming back and I was trying my best to stay away. More than anything I would like to say a big ‘well done’ to all the guys on Aprilia Racing because in Aragon race one we struggled a lot with the new format in the early race, and the response was fantastic and we managed to pull it off. It shows that hard work pays off.”
Assen World Superbike race one results – April 27, 2014
1. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Aprilia Racing RSV4 16 laps
2. Tom Sykes GBR Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +1.259
3. Jonathan Rea GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +4.116s
4. Loris Baz FRA Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +4.459s
5. Toni Elias ESP Red Devils Roma Aprilia RSV4 +23.728s
6. Marco Melandri ITA Aprilia Racing RSV4 +25.478s
7. Chaz Davies GBR Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R +26.533s
8. Leon Haslam GBR PATA Honda CBR1000RR +26.696s
9. Alex Lowes GBR Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 +27.971s
10. Niccolo Canepa ITA Althea Ducati 1199 Panigale R +33.479s (E)
11. Luca Scassa ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +40.689s (E)
12. David Salom ESP Kawasaki Racing ZX-10R +40.803s (E)
13. Leon Camier GBR BMW Italia S1000RR +41.086s (E)
14. Claudio Corti ITA MV Agusta RC F4RR +41.410s
15. Jeremy Guarnoni FRA MRS Kawasaki ZX-10R +41.977s (E)
16. Sheridan Morais RSA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 08.454s (E)
17. Alessandro Andreozzi ITA Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R +1m 19.067s (E)
18. Kervin Bos NED Winteb Honda CBR1000RR +1m 19.076s (E)
19. Geoff May USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX +1m 29.475s
20. Imre Toth HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR +1 lap
21. Michel Fabrizio ITA IRON BRAIN Kawasaki ZX-10R 9 laps completed (E)
22. Eugene Laverty IRL Voltcom Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 7 laps completed
23. Aaron Yates USA Team Hero EBR 1190RX 7 laps completed
24. Peter Sebestyen HUN Team Toth BMW S1000RR 2 laps completed (E)
25. Davide Giugliano ITA Ducati SBK 1199 Panigale R 0 laps completed
26. Fabien Foret FRA MAHI Kawasaki ZX-10R 0 laps completed (E)
Ayrton Badovini ITA Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
Christian Iddon GBR Bimota Alstare BB3 (E) *
* Ineligible to score points, removed from results (Badovini across the line 11th, Iddon DNF)
Standings after Race 1
1. T. SYKES KAWASAKI 95
2. S. GUINTOLI APRILIA 89
3. L. BAZ KAWASAKI 84
4. J. REA HONDA 64
5. M. MELANDRI APRILIA 59