Press release previews from the organizers and some of the teams ahead of this weekend's round of World Superbikes. Includes Pata Honda documentary of Michael van der Mark:
Assen to complete WorldSBK back-to-back events
A favourite circuit for Rea, but his rivals are looking to stop him.
Round 4 sees the eni FIM Superbike World Championship return to ‘The Cathedral’ of Assen for the Dutch Round. Present on the championship calendar since 1992, the Dutch track opened in 1926 which makes it one of the oldest in the world. 2015 marks the 24th staging of a WorldSBK event at the venue, which is second only to Australia’s Phillip Island as the circuit to have hosted most rounds in the series.
Located a stone’s throw from Assen itself, the track has been shortened over the years and in its current configuration measures 4.542 kilometres, with six left turns and 11 right-handers, featuring a distinctly tight start to the lap which can provide drama early on in races.
The rider on the grid with most success to his name at Assen is Jonathan Rea, who now returns to The Netherlands not on a Honda but with Kawasaki machinery at his disposal. The Northern Irishman has stepped atop the podium four times, including an impressive victory in last year’s second race. He now heads back there as a four-time race winner from the six encounters to have been witnessed so far this year. This added to a couple of second places means Rea has amassed a staggering 93% of the possible maximum 150 points to have been up for grabs thus far. The Kawasaki Racing Team man leads Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) by 26 points, while third different race winner of 2015 Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) sits third overall.
Aragon Race 2 saw things turn around in dramatic fashion for Tom Sykes, who spectacularly highsided out of action following a rostrum finish in Race 1. The 2013 World Champion is now looking to put this to the back of his mind, with positivity in Round 4.
If Haslam pulled off a successful damage limitation exercise in Spain last weekend and his team mate Jordi Torres continued to impress with two top-5 finishes, for Chaz Davies it was even better. The Ducati rider sealed the marque’s first victory since the 2012 season and the first for the Panigale model which debuted at the start of 2013. He will remain alongside eyebrow-raising Spaniard Xavi Fores, while Davide Giugliano is back up to his full training regime and is expected to return to action for the next round at Imola. Incidentally, Fores knows Assen well from his time in the German Superbike Championship.
Perhaps those most looking for a turnaround in fortunes are the riders of Pata Honda World Superbike Team. Michael van der Mark heads to his home circuit hoping for at least a podium finish, having won the World Supersport race en route to the title last season. For World Champion team-mate Sylvain Guintoli, he is also looking for positivity after his Aragon Race 2 crash brought an end to a record run of 43 consecutive points finishes.
As for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki riders Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet, plus MV Agusta Reparto Corse’s Leon Camier and Team Pedercini’s David Salom, all four riders will be continuing to set up their new electronics packages which first made appearances in Aragon, while Ayrton Badovini aims for more strong results following a ninth place last time out on what was his return to the World Championship with BMW Motorrad Italia. Althea Racing’s Nico Terol and Matteo Baiocco were locked together in the last race, while Niccolò Canepa picked up his first point for Team Hero EBR. He and team-mate Larry Pegram now hope for double top 15 finishes at Assen.
The very first Assen World Superbike race was won by Doug Polen in what remains the most dominant season on record. Can Rea’s opponents prevent a similar situation in 2015? With three different manufacturers having won the opening six races, recent history says they can…
Assen The Next Opportunity For Rea And Sykes
KRT's Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes will arrive at one of their joint favourite circuits this coming weekend as the fourth round of the FIM Superbike World Championship is set to take place at historic Assen, located in the north of the Netherlands.
Both riders have won races there before – Rea five times and Sykes once in his championship winning year of 2013. And both are keen to add to their haul of race wins at the unique Circuit van Drenthe on the latest-specification Ninja ZX-10R.
Rea enters Assen hot on the heels of another strong display at the front of the field since he joined Kawasaki this winter. He took a win and then a second place at Motorland Aragon last weekend to extend his championship lead over Leon Haslam to 26 points. He has four wins and two second places in all so far in 2015 and a career total of 19 WSB race victories.
Sykes, now fourth in the championship standings, had one third place and then a heavy highside crash at Motorland but he escaped uninjured and is now focusing all his energies to getting his bike ready for the challenge of the iconic Assen circuit. With two third places in 2015, and 22 race victories on his career record, long-term Kawasaki rider Sykes is making continual improvements to his machine set-up after extensive technical rule changes came into force over the winter.
Assen has been the scene of many redesigns and renewals over the decades but it still features the heart and soul of its original format as a roads circuit, albeit with modern levels of runoff and gravel traps. Featuring strong cambers, fast sweeps and many corners that feed into one and other, Assen is an all-time classic venue for bike race fans and riders of all generations.
Jonathan Rea: “I am really excited about Assen because it is a circuit I really enjoy and I have had some good success at in the past. This year with a new team and a new bike we need to see how we perform on Friday but Assen is somewhere I think we can try and win again. There is always close racing there, which I am looking forward to. It is cool to go there each year because there are always a lot of British fans that make the trip over to watch the race. I have some family coming as well. Aside from Phillip Island this is going to be the race that most feels a little bit like home because I have spent so much time there in the past.”
Tom Sykes: “I’m now looking forward to a track that we have gone well at in previous years. The layout is really exciting from a rider’s point of view. Obviously I was not fortunate enough to use the old layout but basically on most of the track, if we exclude the relatively new early section, it has real nice cambered corners and gives you a great feeling with the bike. The cambers add to the speed and feel through the corners. There are some real fast flowing sections. We had a big knock last Sunday at Motorland Aragon but to be honest I came out of it pretty well. I feel better already.”
David Salom (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) posted his best race finish of the season with sixth at Motorland Aragon last weekend and is out for another two good results in the Netherlands. The 2014 SBK Evo Champion for KRT last year, Salom is currently 12th after missing the first round in Australia through injury.
From Aragón to Assen for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team
Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), Wednesday 15 April 2015 – Just three days after scoring a historic win at Motorland Aragón, Chaz Davies and the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team head onwards to the TT Circuit of Assen, in the Netherlands, where Davies will once again be joined on track by Javier Forés, substituting for Davide Giugliano for the second time.
At the recent Spanish round, factory rider Davies was caught up a great battle with Rea in race 1, missing out on the win by just 0.051 of a second to cross the line second. The win was nevertheless imminent and in the day’s second race, the Welshman dominated from start to finish, powering his Ducati Panigale R over the line in first position, more than 3 seconds ahead of the second-placed rider. This marks a very important win – the first for the Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team, Chaz’s first win since joining forces with the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer, and also the maiden win for the Panigale R in World Superbikes. Forés, competing in his very first races of the 2015 season, also scored positive results in his home country, battling hard against many of this year’s top riders to conclude the two races in fifth and sixth place.
Races at the TT Circuit of Assen are often conditioned by wet weather which can often shake things up in terms of results. Davies, having raced in the Superbike category for the last three seasons, has achieved a best of 5th at the Dutch track, in 2013, while Forés last raced at Assen last year in the IDM Superbike championship, winning his race.
As the team heads into this fourth round of the 2015 championship, Davies now positions third in the general standings, with 83 points, while Forés is thirteenth with 21 points. Ducati lies third in the manufacturer’s classification (95 points).
Comments ahead of the event:
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #7)
“Assen’s enjoyable to ride but it’s always a challenge to get the bike to work well around the entire track, with some quite different sections. I’ve never been able to make the best of it in Superbike, and my results have been fairly average, while in Supersport I took a win. My aim this weekend, and every weekend, is to be on the podium, and then we’ll try to pick up wins where we can. I feel that we’ve learned a lot over the last couple of weekends, even when things have not been going so well, and I think that this will be important this weekend; we know where we stand in terms the chassis and that is particularly relevant at Assen I think.”
Javier Forés (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team #112)
“I’ve only raced a few times at Assen but last year we had an IDM round there and I won the race so I can say that I really like the track, I’ve always ridden well at Assen and have some good memories. After the Aragón races, my aim this weekend will be to continue to work in the same direction to be able to improve in the races and stick closer to the guys in front. Last season’s IDM race took place in dry conditions and that’s what I’d prefer this weekend too but I don’t think I’d have particular problems if it were wet. The weather's always an unknown anyway, but we’ll see what we can do…”
Pata Honda team heads home to Holland
The Pata Honda team is gearing up for this weekend’s fourth-round World Superbike championship races at Assen in the Netherlands with riders Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.
The historic 4.542km TT Circuit at Assen is just 70km from the Pata Honda workshop at Nieuwleusen and the Dutch round is traditionally the busiest of the year for the team with many guests, colleagues, friends and family members visiting.
However, in the coming days, Guintoli, van der Mark and their respective crews will be intently focused on improving results and targeting a visit to the World Superbike podium that has eluded the team in the opening three rounds of the 2015 season.
Assen is a happy hunting ground for both Pata Honda riders, with reigning champion Guintoli scoring his first World Superbike victory in a wet race at the circuit in 2012. The 32-year-old French rider took his second Assen win at the corresponding round last season.
This weekend is also the home round for van der Mark, 22, who took his debut World Supersport laurels at Assen last year on his way to the 2014 title. The Dutch ace will be hoping for a similar World Superbike debut in the Netherlands this weekend.
There is no disguising the fact that results have not been what we wanted so far and we’ve had a difficult start to the season. But the whole team is working really hard and totally focused on improving the results. We seem to be able to get into good lap times quite quickly but then we find it more difficult to get those last few tenths that really matter. But the fact that this is the team’s home round will focus our efforts even more because it’s important to get good results and it’s always special to get to the podium in front of friends and family at a home race. Whatever happens, we’ll all be working hard to put on a good show.
Michael van der Mark
I’m feeling quite confident ahead of the home race for me and the team and I’m really looking forward to it. We know from results in previous years that, without a really long straight, Assen suits the CBR a little better than other circuits but we’re still going to have to work as hard as we can and do our very best to get the most out of the package. It would be so good to be able to challenge for the podium but we have to be realistic because I’m still learning in this class. Your home race is always really special and it’s going to be a very busy weekend. But it’s only once a year and I’ve got somewhere to go and chill when I need to!
Superbike Round 4 - Assen - Althea Racing Preview
The fourth round of the World Superbikes, and the second to take place in Europe, is taking place this weekend at Assen, in The Netherlands, immediately after the Motorland Aragon event held on 12 April.
Team Althea Racing arrives at the TT Circuit intent on obtaining positive results in line with those scored up until now, as well as continuing with the constant progress that it has made race after race, with the aim of fighting for important positions and collecting useful points for the championship standings.
Nico Terol, having completed two good races in Spain, is continuing with his work, striving to improve feeling with his bike in the production-derived series, where he has already demonstrated that he is fast, consistent and able to compete against his rivals. The podium is well within Nico’s reach and he will arrive at the TT Circuit with the intention of working with the team to bring home an important result.
Matteo Baiocco is already making his mark, despite not having competed in such a high level championship in recent years. He has already obtained positive results and has continued to grow right from the opening round at Phillip Island. After two good races at Aragon last weekend, Matteo will tried to find the right solutions in order to be as well prepared as possible for Sunday’s races.
The Team’s Superstock 1000 riders will also be on track at Assen for their second championship round after the opening Spanish event which served to better understand the squad’s potential. They will now work as hard as possible to score positive results.
Raffaele de Rosa will be aiming for victory, having demonstrated at Motorland Aragon that this result is within his grasp. The championship is of a very high level and involves some experienced riders but Raffaele is very motivated, especially after completing his first race, to reach the highest step of the podium. The Ducati Panigale R is a great product with which the Italian rider has immediately found good feeling and with which he would like to start scoring the right results from the outset.
Luca Salvadori, debuting in this category, completed a solid race in Aragon though he was unlucky at the start when an accident meant that he had to go off track in order to avoid being caught up in it. He returned to the track in last position but although he had lost a lot of time, he didn’t give up and was nevertheless able to close inside the top 15.
The TT Circuit Assen, also known as the Circuit van Drenthe, taken from the name of the province in which it is located, has long been considered one of the most difficult of the championship, due to its very high average speeds. Despite recent modifications that have altered it considerably, the circuit still puts both bikes and riders to the test.
APRILIA V4 DAYS: LEON HASLAM AND JORDI TORRES CHRISTEN THE NEW APRILIA RSV4 AND TUONO 1100.
LEON: “EXTRAORDINARY BIKES, HARD TO CONVINCE ME NOT TO TAKE THEM OUT FOR A RIDE”
JORDI: “I'M ASTONISHED AT THE LEVEL OF THE V4-MP MULTIMEDIA PLATFORM”
LEON HASLAM AND JORDI TORRES ARE READY TO TAKE ON THE DEMANDING ASSEN CIRCUIT: "IT'S A TRACK I LIKE", SAYS THE BRITISH RIDER. "A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TRACK THAN ARAGON, BUT SUITED TO MY RIDING STYLE" SAID THE SPANIARD.
Misano Adriatico, 15 April 2015 - Special guest testimonials are at Misano Adriatico for the V4 Days where Aprilia is introducing the brand new RSV4 RF and RR and the Tuono 1100 Factory e RR to the international press and customers.
Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres, Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils standard bearers in the World Superbike championship, made a stop at the Misano World Circuit to christen the brand new V4 street bikes from Noale. On their way back from Aragon and just twenty-four hours from departing for Assen, the British rider and his Spanish colleague found themselves in the spotlight for a technical briefing before the participating journalists got onto the track and then commented on the progress in WSBK after the first three rounds.
“Assen is a track that I like and I think it will suit the characteristics of the RSV4 RF well" stated Leon Haslam. "The experience gained at Aragon will also be fundamental Session after session we are learning how the new bike reacts to our changes and figuring out how to adapt the settings to various conditions. I couldn't pass up the chance to come to Misano to introduce the new street version of my RSV4 and I really had to struggle to resist getting on and taking it for a ride! The level that these bikes have reached is extraordinary. A customer with the Aprilia RSV4 can take advantage of a chassis, electronic controls and top shelf performance which are very close to an authentic Superbike.”
Jordi Torres was also positive and determined: “We did a great job at Aragon. The track is long and hard and I learned a lot. Now we are off to Assen, a completely different circuit but one that suits my riding style well. I need to continue learning the secrets of this bike and this category. We are very close to the faster riders in the championship but I need to manage to keep up with them all the way to the end of the race. Today I had fun being a “teacher” for the journalists, explaining the characteristics of the Misano track and seeing the street version of the RSV4 RF in action I was surprised at the unmistakeable sound of the V4. I'm also amazed by the hypernaked of this bike, the Tuono 1100: now the problem is that I want a Tuono for myself to ride on the street!”
The two World Superbike riders also had positive things to say about the fantastic new technology that Aprilia has launched, the Aprilia V4-MP multimedia platform which transforms the customer's smartphone into an exceptionally capable informative instrument. "Because of my age I was basically born with the smartphone - said Jordi - but Aprilia has developed something truly different than any other app in the motorcycle world. This application is really close to the professional instruments that we riders use." For Leon the V4-MP was also a pleasant surprise: "You open it and you are immediately localised in the Misano garages, but that is normal in this day and age" said the British rider. "What makes the difference is that the smartphone dialogues with the bike's control unit and the possibility of setting, turn by turn - on any circuit - the traction control and anti-wheeling sensitivity, to then analyse your performance at the end of the session and try to improve to find the best lap."
NEW APRILIA RSV4 AND TUONO 1100: PROFOUND EVOLUTION
The new Aprilia RSV4 introduced over the last few days at Misano Adriatico - a track where the RSV4 has taken 4 wins and 4 podiums in the last five seasons - represents the most important and profound evolution ever achieved on this extraordinary model that has one 7 world titles in just 5 years of participation in WSBK, adding 54 championship wreaths to the Aprilia trophy case. The main goals of the new V4 project are clear: increase power across the board, exceeding the threshold of 200 HP maximum peak and at the same time increase the already generous torque at all engine speeds.
The new Aprilia is also the only Superbike that allows the rider to adjust the engine position in the frame, the headstock angle, the swingarm pivot and the rear end height, naturally in addition to the fully adjustable suspension.
APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) is the well-known control systems package derived directly from the winning technology in the World Superbike championship, the most complete of its kind available on the market today. It also has the advanced and safe Race ABS system that can be set to 3 different settings. To distinguish the RF from the RR model there are parts such as the Öhlins suspension, forged aluminium wheels and a dedicated livery. And to complete the racing approach of this extraordinary bike, the rider has the option of connecting his or her smartphone to the vehicle through the Aprilia V4-MP platform.
The new Tuono V4 1100 is an exclusive excitement and fun generator in its purest state. New 175 HP engine, taken from 1,000 to 1,100 cc, with a powerful maximum torque of 121 Nm, revamped chassis setup to achieve better agility, fine tuned APRC, new look, the possibility of connecting your smartphone to the vehicle through the V4-MP platform and two distinctly outfitted versions (Factory and RR) that have the same, strictly Aprilia character in common.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki to regroup in Assen
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki departs Aragon directly for Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ this week as the World Championship hosts back-to-back races in Western Europe.
After a difficult weekend in Spain, Alex Lowes is looking forward to returning to the Dutch track and the scene of his debut WSBK podium on his Yoshimura-powered Suzuki – the number 22 rider claimed second position in the day’s second race with a 2.222 second margin from victory. With two race’s worth of data and experience with the new Marelli electronics in the bank from Aragon, Lowes is keen to get down to work at a track he knows so well as his Voltcom Crescent Suzuki team continue to develop the new system.
Randy de Puniet is just as eager for the up-coming visit to the TT circuit and the chance to progress with the GSX-R1000 on the technically challenging track. Having fought a determined battle in last Sunday’s race two – overcoming many of the issues that had plagued the Frenchman over the course of the Spanish weekend – Assen brings the opportunity to maintain the momentum.
A hugely popular track with both fans and riders alike, the Assen TT Circuit’s 4,542m layout is famous for its high speed corners, providing breath-taking racing and an electric atmosphere that keeps the spectators and championships coming back year-on-year. Located 170kms from Netherland’s capital Amsterdam, in the northeast of the country, the track is made up of 6 left and 11 right-hand corners, with the circuit regularly accommodating a 100,000 strong crowd.
Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will be ready for action at 11:15hrs local time (10:15BST) on Friday 17th April, for the opening 45 minute timed-for-qualifying free practice, with the afternoon session scheduled for 15:00hrs (14:00BST). Saturday’s track action starts at 09:45hrs (08:45BST) with the final timed practice and a 30 minute non-timed practice at 12:30hrs (11:30BST) before the Superpole sessions commence at 15:00hrs (14:00BST). Sunday’s races begin at 10:30hrs (09:30BST) and 13:10hrs (12:10BST) respectively.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Assen TT Circuit. Last year it was the first track that I knew on the WSBK calendar and it gave me my first podium on the Suzuki! I’m looking forward to getting back out there, it’s such a fast and technical track but I’ve been training hard and can’t wait to put the GSX-R through its paces again. We had a tough weekend in Spain with the new electronics but we will continue to work hard and get the bike back to what we know is capable.”
Randy de Puniet:
“For me, Assen is one of the best tracks on the calendar, even with the modifications year-on-year. It is a very technical track so even if your bike is not perfect, you can still be at the front with a good chassis and suspension. The GSX-R is good for that so I’m really confident and looking forward to the Assen races. We started from zero at Aragon but with the data from last weekend to develop our understanding of the new systems we can begin to push forward again.”
Michael van der Mark - 'A Life Behind The Bars'
As the 2015 World Superbike championship prepares for the fourth round at Assen in the Netherlands, we’re delighted to bring you a special video – part of Honda Racing’s 'A Life Behind The Bars series' - featuring the Pata Honda team’s Michael van der Mark.
As a Dutch rider in a Dutch team, the Assen WSBK round is particularly significant for van der Mark who, in winning last season’s World Supersport championship on the Honda CBR600RR, became the first solo motorcycling world champion produced by the Netherlands for 40 years.
In this beautifully-shot film, the 22-year-old talks about his childhood, growing up around his father’s transport company, the major influences on his career and how he first got into motorcycle racing.
Team Pedercini ready for Assen
After David Salom good performance in Race 2 at MotorLand Aragón, Team Pedercini has moved personnel and equipment at the famous TT Circuit in Assen (Netherlands).
The track still benefits of “Two Wheels University” title, although the last major changes, made in 2006, have eliminated the whole first part, very fast, especially for a modern circuit, reducing the length of nearly 1,500 m. In its place were built new stands more capacious of the previous, overlooking the new complex of initial turns, slow and quite simple.
Wednesday is the day dedicated to the preparation of the structures, phase which involves all men's team came directly from Spain.
Yesterday morning both trucks, Superbike and Superstock, were positioned as well as the new Hospitality.
Both Kawasaki ZX-10R are in the box of the dutch track, where Team Pedercini technicians are carring out routine operations to make them get on track in perfect condition.
Yesterday evening both riders, David Salom and Javier Alviz, arrived at the circuit for a preliminary technical meeting led by Team Manager, Lucio Pedercini.
Last Sunday, in Race 2, David Salom has got a great sixth place, but team heed is focused on the prevention of electronic problems that characterized the entire race weekend. From the third round has expired the benefit of the “old configuration” electronics and the adoption of the 2015 version has produced some teething troubles. Problems already identified, but always monitored to prevent recurrence.
The Pedercini Team is engaged in an important renewall phase and the status of "official satellite team" has accelerated the adoption of a new organizational model, now quite similar to the major teams of the World Championship.
Friday morning Salom and Alviz take to the track, seriously determined to confirm the positive trend showed last sunday at the MotorLand Aragón.
Dutch expectations revealed on the eve of WorldSBK Round 4
Riders are confident but local hopes rest with van der Mark
The Official Press Conference for the Dutch Round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship took place in front of a good crowd at the TT Circuit Assen today. Some of the protagonists of this year’s series spoke ahead of Sunday’s races, which are expected to play an already very important part in the unfolding season.
Two of the riders to receive the biggest attention from the crowd were the Aragon race winners Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team), both were asked a number of questions via Twitter (#askWorldSBK) and from the floor.
“The biggest difference between the bike I rode last year and the Kawasaki is the colour” joked Rea. Meanwhile Davies explained the way he celebrated his and Ducati’s first win of the Panigale era, with one single glass of red wine. “There will be a party in garage 18” he added, “if it’s another good result on Sunday.”
Naturally the spotlight was also on local hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike), who carries the hopes of Holland on his shoulders. The reigning World Supersport champion was also asked a number of questions. “If I had to choose between winning on Sunday or being WorldSBK champion at the end of this year, I would choose the latter. But having said that, I will try to win the race anyway.”
Van der Mark’s teammate Sylvain Guintoli reaffirmed that there is still work to do in the Pata Honda garage, while on the other hand Ayrton Badovini was pleased with his performance aboard the BMW Motorrad Italia machine in Spain and thus he is confident of another solid result in the Netherlands.
The opening day’s free practice session for the World Superbike class will start at 11:15am local time.
Sofuoglu returns to Assen as World Supersport leader
Just five days after the Aragon race, World Supersport will be practicing for Round 4 of 2015 at Assen. Having returned to winning ways almost exactly a year after his last race victory, three-time World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) is now looking to extend the championship lead as newly-born son Hamza first attends a WorldSBK round. Sofuoglu has won twice at Assen, including his first ever World Supersport victory in 2006.
The closest rival to Sofuoglu in the standings also rides a Kawasaki ZX-6R, as the United States’ PJ Jacobsen picked up a second consecutive podium in Spain. The same could not be said for Jules Cluzel, as the MV Agusta rider again retired from a potentially race-winning situation. Having won the season-opener at Phillip Island, the more recently luckless Frenchman now finds himself only eighth in the championship and 30 points in arrears.
Buriram hero Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE’’ Motorsport Thailand Honda) also retired in Aragon, continuing a run that has seen the championship leader heading into each round failing to make the end of the race; he crashed at Turn 14 with Marco Faccani (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Lucas Mahias (Intermoto Pontexpres Kawasaki, team-mate to Jacobsen).
Enjoying a first ever podium finish, on the other hand, was Pata Honda World Supersport rider Kyle Smith as the Englishman overcame early weekend setup problems to finish third in what has been his home country since six years of age. Elsewhere, former MotoGP rider Luigi Morciano joins Roberto Rolfo at Team Lorini, as Alessandro Nocco remains injured.
Sofuoglu Aims For Second Win After Victory In Spain
Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and his Ninja ZX-6R headed the field in the recent Motorland Aragon WSS race and the Turkish rider is out to do so again as the championship heads to Assen in the Netherlands this weekend for the fourth round of the year.
Having jumped up to the top of the leader board after his full points score in Spain, Sofuoglu has now extended his all-time WSS winning record to 28, with no less than 62 podiums of some kind from his 95 race starts. He has three WSS championship wins on his record, the most recent, in 2012, achieved on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
Although Kenan has won before at Assen in Supersport, he has yet to enjoy that privilege with Kawasaki, a factor that has raised his motivation to new levels for this weekend.
San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki rider Marco Faccani was unlucky to have been taken out of the race last weekend while in a good position but the fast rookie is ready to make up for this disappointment at Assen.
American PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpress) scored his second podium of 2015 at the previous round in Aragon and in doing so went second overall in the championship, 13 points behind Kenan.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “Last weekend was a very, very good weekend for us, and for our motivation. My rider in Superstock 600 won the double and I won in Supersport. I left with the championship lead and some good points. I think we are fully motivated for Assen and I know the Kawasaki can work very well there too. That makes us feel stronger and probably we can go for another win. I did not win a race there yet for Kawasaki as always it was wet, or there was some other problem. Now I hope we can go for the first win there with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R."
Superstock 1000 straight back to business at The Cathedral
After an incident-filled opener in Aragon last weekend, the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup now rocks on into The Netherlands and Assen.
Roberto Tamburini clinched his first race victory in Spain, as the Team MotoxRacing BMW rider blasted into the class in style. He fought off 2014 championship runner-up Lorenzo Savadori of New M2 Racing Aprilia, with the latter having been overtaken at the last corner. Third on the Aragon rostrum was Scotland’s Kev Coghlan, signalling a strong start to the new campaign for the Team MRS Yamaha crew.
Last year’s Assen race was very much weather-oriented, with home rider Kevin Valk (MTM – Kawasaki HS) making the most of his track knowledge in the testing conditions. However, to do that again he will be required to fend off challenges from the likes of Raffaele de Rosa, Ondrej Jezek and Bryan Staring who were all fighting for top five positions in Aragon.
Further back in the pack, riders will be looking to avoid drama after the Aragon race witnessed a multiple first corner collision which meant no less than nine failed to make the end of the first lap.
Superstock 600: More Turkish delight in The Netherlands?
An apparent phenomenon controlled Superstock 600 proceedings in Aragon, either running away from the pack or forcing his rivals into mistakes as they pushed too hard to keep up. Toprak Razgatlioglu has taken the series by storm, with his Magny-Cours 2014 win and Aragon 2015 double meaning he has won each of the three races he has entered to date.
Mentored by three-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu, Razgatlioglu leads the way for the Puccetti Racing Kawasaki squad. The 18-year-old hails from Sakarya, overlooking the black sea and 150 kilometres from Istanbul. He now aims to return there with Dutch silverware, buoyed by the fact that he knows Assen from his experience last year in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Who is most likely to halt the Turkish march? One may look first to Federico Caricasulo (Pata Honda Junior Team), considering the Italian was the only other rider to collect two podiums in Aragon. The other pair of rostrum finishers were Belgium’s Gauthier Duwelz and Italy’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi, although the latter blew any chance of overhauling Razgatlioglu when he crashed out on the last lap of the second race. Incidentally, from Assen onwards Superstock 600 returns to its usual format of one race per weekend.
Last year’s Assen winner was Niki Tuuli, collecting his first and so far only victory. Two places behind, Marco Faccani finished third en route to the Superstock 600 crown.
The MRS Yamaha Team Arrives at Assen for the Dutch Round
After a brilliant podium finish with the all-new YZF-R1M at its debut in Aragón, the MRS Yamaha Team heads straight to the Netherlands for the fourth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at TT Circuit Assen this weekend.
Kev Coghlan wasted no time to position himself as one of the key protagonists during the first FIM Superstock 1000 Cup race at MotorLand Aragón. Clearly enjoying the Spanish track, he maneuvered himself to the front of the field early on in the race to score a solid third place. After this achievement, the Scotsman is excited to get even more accustomed to his YZF-R1M during the round in the Netherlands this weekend, where he will aim for another top performance.
Though teammate Florian Marino had not been able to find a perfect set-up in Spain, he still fought hard to cross the line in seventh place, gaining valuable championship points. He looks forward to building momentum at the next round at Assen, which is a circuit he knows well.
Assen is often referred to as 'the Cathedral' of racing and for good reasons. Opened in 1926, the Dutch track is one of the oldest circuits in the world and has lots of racing heritage. The beloved track first became a part of the WorldSBK championship calendar in 1992 and has since hosted the single most rounds in the WorldSBK series.
"I think it's a great start for us to get on the podium at the first race in Aragon. To ride a brand-new bike and already be up to speed and able to fight at the front is great. Think it's going to be hard work to do the same thing at Assen, because Aragon is a track I go very well at and I can expect to do well there. It's going to be a real test at Assen to see if we can repeat the same kind of performance. However, with the development on the bike, we are getting a little bit faster and a little bit more comfortable with the bike every time we're out on track, so hopefully we'll move forward step by step in Assen again. We’ll hope for a good performance."
"The last race I didn’t do as well as I hoped and it was a little disappointing for me, but I’m ready to move forward from the weekend Aragon. This weekend we’ll be riding at Assen. It’s a track I know well, so hopefully I can do better at this circuit."