2014 Assen World Superbike Saturday Roundup: In Before It Rains

World Superbike's new early start has created two race climates, and we could be in for both cold and wet tomorrow. And if it rains, who stands to benefit?

The two favourites in wet conditions are Loris Baz and Sylvain Guintoli, and they would get a clean run from the lights as they have the two best seats in the house. The rain is also a great leveller, and we have not yet seen how well the Evo bikes can race in the wet, or the three new bikes, for that matter, so predictions are a fool's errand. Superpole today demonstrated that, as the men you'd expect to see fighting for the front row had to abandon fast laps with their qualifying tyres on, rewarding those who put in early fast laps.

The other aspect of the new schedule is the lack of time between races for the Superbike class, an aspect of which is likely to be dealt with next year with the potential abolition of the single-bike rule. Paul Denning of Voltcom Crescent Suzuki explained to Motomatters that the proposal the factories are pushing for allows a second bike to be available, but only be scrutineered if it's required in the second race.

Superpole one was dry, and with two factory riders taking part, it looked like a foregone conclusion, but even though Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri did indeed qualify for Superpole two, Leon Camier made them work for it. Camier will start in 13th place, second-fastest Evo bike of the weekend.

Marco Melandri was able to parlay his Superpole entry into a fourth place start, benefitting, like most of the riders at the front, from an early quick lap before it rained and he felt happy with his place while Jonathan Rea in fifth place seemed to think he missed out showing their true potential.

One rider to watch out for in the Superbike races is Christian Iddon. While he may not be the fastest or most experienced, and his Bimota's rogue status won't allow him to score points, it's a rare rider that makes Ayrton Badovini look like the more in-control and stable rider on a bike. Iddon struggled with the electronics and asked his team to turn off the traction control, preferring to use his extensive Supermoto experience to keep the bike from crashing. Iddon is a racer that makes riding look like fun.

In World Supersport, Florian Marino made it another Frenchman on a Kawasaki for pole position, beating out title favourite Kenan Sofuoglu and the local Michael Van Der Mark, with Jules Cluzel leading the second row under a quarter of a second off Marino's time. It looks like there are around six riders that could win this race, a much needed antidote to the Sofuoglu dominance we were promised.

Round Number: 
3
2014
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