WSB Assen: Rea wins race one

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From second on the grid Jonathan Rea (KRT) took the early lead from Tom Sykes his team-mate and Leon Haslam (Aprilia), and would run out the winner in a busy race, but one in which he was in full control of.

Chaz Davies (Ducati) went second on lap two and with the front-runners forming a top four – Rea, Davies, Sykes and Haslam – local rider Michael van der Mark was left leading the second bunch, 1.6 seconds back after three laps. After four it was VDM and Xavi Fores in a chasing duo, only a second from the leading quartet, with Sykes back up to second.

At the start of lap six van der Mark was through to fourth, with the top six covered by less than one second.

Guintoli was also on the march upwards, faster than the top six at that point, with Aprilia rider Jordi Torres right on his pace.

VDM pounced on Davies at the final hairpin of lap seven, taking third place, only for Davies to take it back on lap eight.

Both Suzukis crashed on lap nine, on turn one, with Alex Lowes running off and then falling while Randy De Puniet had already crashed on the brakes, at high speed, his bike just hitting the tyre barrier a long way from the regular track surface.

Against the advice of Pirelli, Ducati, EBR and Guintoli had started the cold first race on the SC0 rear tyre, which was deemed too soft.

VDM block-passed Sykes on lap 13, and in doing so Haslam also got past, putting Sykes fifth.

With Sykes cut adrift in fifth place with five laps to go, the top four were separated by only 0.420 seconds at that stage.

Haslam went third on lap 16, making it two groups of two up front, with Sykes 2.2 behind leader Rea.

Van Der Mark made his move on lap 19 and he kept his third place to the flag to become the first ever Dutch rider to make it to the podium of a WSB race.

Rea set the best lap on lap 20, a 1’35.889 which was a new lap record, just to make sure he could steer clear of the chasing Davies. With VDM a popular third, Haslam was fourth.

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Gordon Ritchie

By Gordon Ritchie