2016 Assen World Superbike Race Two Results: Sixty-One Seconds

With a damp track, all but a handful of riders would start with wet weather tyres for the twenty-one lap flag-to-flag race.

Tom Sykes led the messy clump of riders feeling their way round a wet track without giving quarter. Chaz Davies, Jonathan Rea, Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden all jostled for position behind Sykes and were joined by a hard-charging Xavi Fores who scythed through the field to take third place through the chicane at the end of the first lap. Rea, having dropped back to sixth after an error, tried to work his way back up but started the third lap still in sixth place while Sykes was eking out a gap of almost a second in the lead.

Chaz Davies then overcooked a corner, dropping to fifth and handing second place to Xavi Fores. Rea capitalised and swapped places with the Ducati a couple of times but behind him, Josh Brookes was closing up and setting the fastest lap in seventh place.

At the start of lap four, the Hondas of van der Mark and Hayden passed Fores's customer Ducati and, after a little in-fighting, van der Mark caught Sykes's Kawasaki, setting the fastest lap in the process. Davies started suffering from grip issues and started lap five in eighth place behind Lorenzo Savadori on the Ioda Racing Aprilia. Tom Sykes was overtaken by three bikes in succession, conceding the lead to Michael van der Mark and Josh Brookes set the fastest lap again, taking the lead from van der Mark in the process.

Lap six and tyres were starting to get chewed up by the drying track while the intermediates were already too spent to take advantage of the conditions. Nobody had the right tyres any more. Josh Brookes led Michael van der Mark and Nicky Hayden with the Kawsakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes battling behind them. Xavi Fores ducked into the pits for new tyres.

The flag to flag regulations in World Superbike have a minimum time for safety that must be spent changing tyres. At Assen, this time is sixty ones seconds, and with the top teams being very good at this sort of thing, that would be plenty of time for the teams to change tyres and not lose any time. Nobody would be gaining an advantage in the pits.

Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark fought hard behind Josh Brookes and Nicky Hayden and spent the entirety of the chicane side by side, neither conceding ground, but it was clear that this pace couldn't be kept up on wet weather tyres and, at the end of lap eight, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes both pitted in, Rea from third place and Sykes from ninth.

Josh Brookes didn't get the memo about grip fading and set the fastest lap again. Brookes, Hayden and van der Mark had a gap to Chaz Davies in fourth, but van der Mark conceded third place to the Welshman, pitting in for a tyre change at the end of lap nine. Savadori followed him a lap later.

Josh Brookes led Nicky Hayden and Chaz Davies, none of whom wanted to pit in while the track was clear of rivals, but by lap eleven, Jonathan Rea on the slick rear and Tom Sykes on the intermediate, were lapping five seconds a lap quicker than the leaders. At the end of lap twelve, Brookes, Davies and Hayden all made the decision to change their tyres.

Lucas Mahias, the mad Frenchman on the Pedercini Kawasaki, was now the leader, with Pawel Szkopek on the Team Toth Yamaha behind him.

Team Toth were in second place. Behind Pedercini Racing.

Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes were visibly faster than any bike near and they made quick work of Szkopek and closed the seven second gap to Mahias before the lap was out. Szkopek pitted in. Josh Brookes, out on new tyres, unfortunately crashed and ended his race.

Lucas Mahias led over the line at the start of lap fourteen, but then the factory Kawasakis on decent tyres left him for dust. Mathias, having had his fun at the front then pitted in for new tyres.

As the dust settled and everyone had the tyres they'd finish on, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes had a healthy lead over local man Michael van der Mark who himself was almost ten seconds clear of a lonely Lorenzo Savadori behind him. Third and fourth places were determined and only the order at the front was to be decided.

Tom Sykes, when pitting in, asked for a slick tyre, but his team didn't make out his request and instead fitted an intermediate and this would be the decider. Both Kawasaki riders were closely matched, but Rea was able to manage the power out of corners much better and this proved over the last four laps, to be worth a tenth or two at a time and Jonathan Rea took a hard-fought but comfortable victory over a second clear of his teammate Tom Sykes. Michael van der Mark took an emotionally charged third place in front of a jubilant Dutch crowd and Lorenzo Savadori finished with his best ever result in fourth place. Chaz Davies and Nicky Hayden rounded out the top six.

Jonathan Rea extends his championship lead with a double win at Assen and is now forty-five points clear of Chaz Davies and fifty-nine ahead of Tom Sykes.


Pos No. Rider Bike Gap Best Lap Speed
1 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10R   1'37.706 285,4
2 66 T. SYKES Kawasaki ZX-10R 2.442 1'38.213 285,8
3 60 M. VAN DER MARK Honda CBR1000RR SP 15.189 1'39.216 282,0
4 32 L. SAVADORI Aprilia RSV4 RF 25.507 1'39.142 280,5
5 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale R 30.853 1'38.597 283,9
6 69 N. HAYDEN Honda CBR1000RR SP 36.458 1'39.068 282,0
7 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 39.263 1'39.547 281,6
8 34 D. GIUGLIANO Ducati Panigale R 46.789 1'39.555 277,3
9 2 L. CAMIER MV Agusta 1000 F4 1'05.023 1'37.974 278,7
10 12 X. FORÉS Ducati Panigale R 1'05.468 1'40.254 278,0
11 50 S. GUINTOLI Yamaha YZF R1 1'24.948 1'43.760 280,5
12 40 R. RAMOS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1'35.035 1'40.073 274,8
13 44 L. MAHIAS Kawasaki ZX-10R 1 Lap 1'39.970 276,2
14 17 K. ABRAHAM BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'40.537 279,4
15 81 J. TORRES BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'39.224 280,5
16 21 M. REITERBERGER BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'45.584 272,4
17 94 M. LUSSIANA BMW S1000 RR 1 Lap 1'45.929 272,7
18 119 P. SZKOPEK Yamaha YZF R1 1 Lap 1'45.215 265,3
RET 25 J. BROOKES BMW S1000 RR 9 Laps    
RET 151 M. BAIOCCO Ducati Panigale R 11 Laps    


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Couple of thoughts.

I'm amazed that Sykes and his team didn't have a procedure prepared, practised and agreed to ensure he got the tyre he wanted.

I didn't see anyone being held back at the pit exit until their 61s were up. So how is the time in the pits during a tyre change enforced?

I have been working on the assumption that the mandated time is for the bike to be stationary in the pit.  This allows plenty of time for wheels to be changed and a basic wet setup applied to the suspension etc in a safe manner. It also theoretically means they do not need the full box and dice of endurance type quick change setup, but it looked to me like they had much the same thing, just they were not rushed in using it.

I was really impressed by both WSS and SBK races, the way race direction responded quickly to the onset of rain in the WSS (just a shame PJJ did not see the red flags) was perfect and the "quick restart" procedure was so much better than MOTO2/3 where the whole fanfare of dancing girls and BS gets rolled out again after a red.

Similarly in SBK I liked the wheel change rather than bike change rule, it added another level of interest.  I think it is only the carbon brakes which prevent this in MotoGP?  Given how well the mandated stationary time seems to work in SBK, surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to have dry-break connectors on the calipers (I believe they have them already anyhow) and thus be able to use the one bike for flag-to-flag races.  The WSBK version of it seemed safer and less random.

Well timing and getting the right tires on. Slicks seemed the right choice for those that made it, but timing really did play a key role. Riders turning 1.50 on wets and 1.39 on slicks/intermediates. you have to have one heck of a lead to think staying out and running slower is a good idea.

Of course, the riders don't and can't know that the slicks are so much faster.  That's when it's up to the team to tell the rider to come in - strongly.  It's also up to the rider to trust their team enough to make the call for them. 

Too often we see riders, in the tops tiers of racing, making their own fateful judgement calls when pit stops are required.

Makes you wonder why they dont have WEC style quick release gear on the bikes , like they do at the suzuka 8H.


"Lucas Mahias, the mad Frenchman"

What exactly has he done to justify this description on a public forum?

Is there a publishable good story?

Were the Hondas, Brookes et al anticipating the return of rain in staying out so long on wets?

All my couch racer emotions were in full swing watching Nicky stay out too long. It looked like a weekend he could've surely took a victory at a track he's familiar with. Around lap 7 I started yelling for him to come him, but he stayed out, then he stayed out again, then he stayed again and again. It was hard just watching him give the race away. I cant figure out how someone with as much experience as him stays out on wets that long on a dry track. Did his team not ask him to come in? I really felt had he come in sooner he could've been fighting for 1st place. 

SpiesFL, #69 graciously admitted he got it wrong, check out this post-race interview, from 11:16 onwards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p51WRtxI2Y

(First post btw. Have been lurking for ages but finally decided it was time to get involved ;-)  Short introducion: big motor racing fan since the late eighties, dutchman, regular Assen visitor, currently backing one of our local moto3 guys and used to post at the old MGPN forum. I think I recognise a few of the old nicks and / or styles over here :-)