World Superbike: More From The Races At Assen

World Superbike: More From The Races At Assen

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Kawasaki Motors Europe:

Rea Perfect At Assen

Jonathan Rea took two more race wins on Sunday at the Assen round of the FIM Superbike World Championship to make it three victories from three starts and extend his championship lead. His KRT team mate Alex Lowes was sixth and then seventh today, putting in two battling rides after a crash in Race One on Saturday.

In the Tissot Superpole Race on Sunday Jonathan used all his experience to take the lead and then push on at a pace that none of his rivals could match, securing all 12 points on offer in the ten-lap ‘sprint’ race.

With two race wins to his credit at his favourite circuit Rea also had to work for his third, but like all his peers he was glad that the potential for more rain did not appear. Heavy overnight rain had delayed warm-up in the morning as there were some flooded areas around the track, but all the warm up sessions and races went ahead after a major clean up operation.

In race two Rea had to push his pace to overtake long time leader and series rookie Andrea Locatelli at the halfway point. Jonathan eased out his lead and finally won the 21-lap race by 1.605 seconds, from second place rider Scott Redding. Rea’s closest championship rival Toprak Razgatlioglu was involved in a first corner incident that saw him crash out and no-score.

Jonathan has now taken fully 15 race wins at Assen, three more than the next best total for any single rider at any particular racetrack. One more podium finish for Jonathan Rea will see him reach a career total of 200 top three results.

For Lowes it was a difficult Sunday after his first race fall but despite a small physical limitation he pushed as hard as he could and took a sixth place in the Tissot Superpole Race.

Seventh in race two gave Alex enough points to keep a clear fourth place in the overall championship rankings after five rounds of the season have been completed.

After one free weekend for the WorldSBK riders, Most in the Czech Republic will host the next round of the championship, between 6-8 August.

 

Jonathan Rea (1) leads Michael Ruben Rinaldi (21) and Scott Redding (45) at Assen. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Jonathan Rea (1) leads Michael Ruben Rinaldi (21) and Scott Redding (45) at Assen. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Jonathan Rea, stated: “It was nice to make it three-from-three here at Assen. We achieved it after we changed the rear tyre choice from yesterday. With the overnight rain the track’s grip level was a little bit lower and the temperature was maybe three or four degrees lower. We figured that would be the crossover point to run the SC0. It was nice to win with the soft tyre choice yesterday and the standard race tyre option today. It is a massive testament to the guys in the pitbox and what they have done. We made quite a big chassis change in the set-up this weekend and it was easier to ride. You could see in my passes, I could put the bike where I wanted and it was very nimble, yet stable in the fast sections as well. I went over to see the flooding on the track first thing this morning, considering how much rain there was last night – and there was a lake on the inside of turn five! So massive respect to the track and everybody at Assen because they had lots of machines there, two fire trucks, three tankers and I think we were only delayed 45 minutes this morning. They did an incredible job.”

 

Alex Lowes (22) heads Chaz Davies (7) and Michael van der Mark at Assen. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.
Alex Lowes (22) heads Chaz Davies (7) and Michael van der Mark at Assen. Photo courtesy Kawasaki.

 

Alex Lowes, stated: “It was not an easy day or an easy weekend for us. I have had some physical restrictions which have been tough and this track is quite tough anyway, with lots of changes of direction. My tyre in Race Two was in better condition than Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s but the trouble was passing him. I did make a move on him and ran out wide, which allowed Michael van der Mark to pass, but in those last five or six laps I was getting held up a little bit. I could have maybe gone a bit quicker but I still enjoyed the battle through the second race. I was quite happy with sixth and seventh, as I was struggling quite a lot. That is a shame, but my target is to go out and rest and come back 100% for the next race at a new track in the Czech Republic. Sixth and seventh are not where I want to be finishing but all things considered, it was a better day than Saturday! This was the most we could do this weekend.”

Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 13th and then 14th today and Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) 17th each time. Wildcard rider Andrea Mantovani (Vince64 Kawasaki) was 16th in each Sunday race, but scored two championship points for 14th on day one.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team HRC:

Charging Bautista races to strong fifth in race 2 at Assen, Haslam rounds out the top ten

Team HRC has completed the fifth Superbike World Championship round at the Assen TT Circuit with Alvaro Bautista crossing the line fifth in race 2, to score his strongest result of the season to date. Leon Haslam finished the day’s races in twelfth and tenth place.

The 10-lap Tissot Superpole race got underway at 11.00 am local time. Bautista made a strong start and was lying sixth before a crash unfortunately put paid to his plans towards the end of lap one. Haslam was lying twelfth through the opening stages and ran a steady albeit rather solitary race. Unable to make up further positions, the Brit crossed the line twelfth.

Lining up for race 2 later in the afternoon, the HRC riders were lying ninth (Bautista) and twelfth (Haslam) through the first turns. Both Team HRC riders gained a position in the early stages, Bautista going on to pass both Lowes and Van der Mark to place sixth by lap nine. The Spaniard was able to lap quite fast and consistently to get past Rinaldi on lap fifteen and move into fifth place. He kept gaining ground on Davies, reducing the gap from 2.549 to 0.889 seconds before crossing the line to secure his best result of the season so far. Haslam worked hard to catch those immediately ahead of him but was only able to make up one more position throughout the course of the race, rounding out the Dutch weekend with a tenth-place finish.

Bautista now places eleventh in the championship standings with 68 points, Haslam lies thirteenth with a tally of 55. Team HRC will be back in action during the sixth WorldSBK round at the Most Circuit in the Czech Republic over the weekend of 6-8 August.

 

Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy Team HRC.
Alvaro Bautista (19). Photo courtesy Team HRC.

 

Alvaro Bautista 19

SPRC P18 RC2 P5

“It has been a challenging weekend for us with two crashes in the first two races, something that quite annoys me honestly, because I think that our performance in those races could have been similar to what we did in race 2. For now, when I try to ride more naturally, I fall. Having said that, we finished the weekend with a positive result, a hard-fought top five, with some nice passes, and I think that this stems from the work we are doing. During the weekend we improved a lot on the electronics side, especially on the lower area of the throttle which gives me more confidence now. Maybe it’s not so apparent yet, but I hope it’s just a starting point for the upcoming races.”

 

Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy Team HRC.
Leon Haslam (91). Photo courtesy Team HRC.

 

Leon Haslam 91

SPRC P12 RC2 P10

“In the Superpole race, a rider caused me to lose many positions through the first turn. It was a difficult race and we struggled with both the front of the bike and power delivery too. In the second race, I made a good start but then Toprak crashed and I had to avoid him, which meant I lost ground again. I felt like I had good rhythm through the first part of the race anyway, but then from about lap ten I started to lose a lot of time, more than one second per lap. Overall, it’s been a tough weekend and I’m left frustrated as I expected top five results at this circuit.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Barni Racing Team:

Rabat improves and takes double P11 on Sunday at TT Assen Circuit

 

Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Barni Racing Team.
Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Barni Racing Team.

 

Assen (NLD). The weekend at the TT Circuit of Assen, in the Netherlands, which held the fifth round of the WorldSBK, ended with a double P11 for the Barni Racing Team. Despite Rabat only just missed out on the Top 10 in both Superpole Race and Race 2, the improvement from Saturday was clear and the progress gives confidence to the team as well as five more points in the riders’ championship standings. With today’s results Rabat moves up to 23 points in the overall standings, fifth among independent riders.

Superpole Race

In the Superpole Race Tito made a great start and after two laps found himself in P7. Sykes (BMW) passed him halfway through the race and two laps later Davies also went on the attack, taking the Ducati Panigale V4 R #53 off the line. Tito lost two more positions, dropped back and finished the race in P11. For the grid revised, Rabat lined up in P13 on the Race 2 grid.

Race 2

Starting from the fifth row the Spaniard was unable to repeat his good start in the Superpole Race, in the chaos of the first corner he lost ground and ended up in P16, but from the very first lap he started his comeback. After a good fight with Bassani (Ducati), Rabat overtook Vinales (Kawasaki), Nozane (Yamaha) and Mercado (Honda) and in the final phase came within half a second of Haslam (Honda). However, Rabat was unable to attack his rival and crossed the line in P11. Signs of improvement and growing results ahead of the next round at the unseen Most track in the Czech Republic, where Superbike will return to racing in two weeks.

Tito Rabat, #53

“I can’t say I’m 100% happy, but the improvements today give me confidence for the next races. Now I want to take a few days off and be in top form at Most.”

Marco Barnabò – Team Principal

“Without the overtaking of Chaz in the Superpole Race we could have finished in the Top 10. That was a normal race situation, but it also affected Race 2. Having slipped out of the top nine we had to line up further back in Race 2 and that makes the situation more complicated. Over the longer distance we showed that we had the pace to be in the top ten, but starting from the fifth row penalized us. Regrets aside, we are satisfied because we had two good races.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Go Eleven:

P4, BEST INDEPENDENT, IN CHAZ DAVIES 200TH RACE!

 

Chaz Davies. Photo courtesy Team Go Eleven.
Chaz Davies. Photo courtesy Team Go Eleven.

 

Team Go Eleven and Chaz Davies cheered up the Dutch weekend with an excellent performance in Race 2, at the 200th start of the Welsh rider in WorldSBK.

After yesterday’s difficult day, in the night, the TT-Circuit is hit by a violent storm, which floods large sections of the Cathedral of Speed. The Warm Up is even postponed, due to a large amount of water in Turn 5. During the session the track is half wet and Chaz takes to the track to make some laps without pushing to the limit.

The Superpole Race is a fundamental race for those who struggled in qualifying, getting into the top nine is the main goal to aim for an excellent Race 2. Chaz starts quite well, defending his position and begins the chase to the Top Ten. Lap after lap he recovers positions, with a good pace. He goes into battle with Rabat and Gerloff for eighth position, then finishing ninth with a good defense in the last lap. In 10 laps recovering so many positions is not easy, but the third row conquered for Race 2 is definitively important.

Just before Race 2, as in Donington a few weeks ago, some threatening clouds appear over Assen. Fortunately, after a few drops, the sun returns and the last race of the weekend starts on dry asphalt. Chaz has a good start, follows an inside line in the first corners and manages to have an excellent speed on the straight that allows him to recover a couple of positions. His race pace is fast from the start, so much so that he manages to overtake Sykes and Lowes in a few laps. He then sets his pace and sets off in pursuit of the Ducati Redding and Rinaldi duo, in battle with each other for third place. Scott is a bit faster, while Michael and Chaz are fighting each other. The Go Eleven rider throws himself into the second sector and conquers the fourth position. He stretches just enough to defend himself from Bautista’s comeback, but from the middle of the race on, the front tyre is completely destroyed, as happened yesterday. Solid performance by the Welsh rider who stops right behind the podium in his 200th World Superbike race!

Best Independent Team & Rider, Go Eleven is back in business!

Chaz Davies (Rider):

“We made a quite big change on the bike and it was good! I am happy to feel a step forward in turnings; it was turning a much more naturally and that helped not only the performance of the bike, but also from the physical point of view, I had to work on my self a little bit less and I could let the bike do the work naturally. So credit to my crew for making a step forward, for being brave in a decision, it was definitively the right one. Unfortunately we suffered the same problem of yesterday, at seven laps to go I killed the front tyre. That was a bit disappointing, because I was really feeling like I could get in the mix for the podium, catching Scott a little bit; rear tyre was quite good, but the front was absolutely dead. From that I was just managing to stay on the bike, I was really loosing it a lot, I had to save a lot of front slides. I did what I needed to do, I conserve the fourth place and the Top Independent, so happy with that and thanks to the Go Eleven Team!”

Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):

“In the Superpole Race we weren’t very fast but it was too important to be able to get into the nine, and Chaz did it. For the race, the team then had the courage to risk a completely different set-up, we took a risk but it went well and rewarded us. Chaz’s pace was very fast, and third place was within reach. Unfortunately he finished the front tyre a few laps from the end. A problem we have been carrying around all weekend, we need to understand why we killed the tyre so early. Congratulations to Chaz for his 200th Superbike race; he is more and more in the legend of this Championship!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team:

WorldSBK Sunday at Assen: both BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team riders show fighting spirit and strong chasing performances.

 

Michael van der Mark (60) and Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.
Michael van der Mark (60) and Tom Sykes (66). Photo courtesy BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.

 

The two riders from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team showed fighting spirit to deliver convincing performances once again in Sunday’s race in the FIM Superbike World Championship at Assen (NED). In the Superpole race, Tom Sykes (GBR) put on a thrilling chase to move up from 18th to seventh place. In the afternoon, Michael van der Mark (NED) overcame difficulties during race two to improve by five places and secure another top result by finishing sixth. After his crash on Saturday, the race doctors did not grant clearance for Jonas Folger (GER) from the BMW satellite team Bonovo MGM Racing to compete on Sunday.

After some heavy rainfall, there was still water on and around the circuit in the morning, causing the warm-up session to be postponed by 50 minutes. The start of the morning’s Superpole race was then also pushed back by ten minutes. The track was then dry, but conditions still proved to be treacherous in places. Sykes once again gave a fantastic chase. Starting from 18th on the grid, he moved up ten positions with his BMW M 1000 RR on the first lap and secured seventh place on lap four. That was where he finished the sprint race, claiming seventh spot on the grid for the afternoon’s second race. Van der Mark also made a good start from ninth only to take a fall a short time later. This put him eleventh on the grid for race two.

At the start of the second race, two riders collided at the front in turn one – while van der Mark was able to leap forward six places to move into fifth. Sykes claimed seventh position on lap one, but then fell back a little. Van der Mark also lost some time. During the second half of the race, van der Mark and Sykes were then involved in a duel lying in eighth and ninth places, all while closing in on the top six. Events took a dramatic turn coming into the final lap; van der Mark was able to overtake two rivals and secure sixth place, while Sykes took a tumble. He was able to rejoin the race and finished 15th to score a point.

Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, was at Assen to experience the race weekend on site. “It was super to be back again,” said Schramm on Sunday afternoon. “I hadn’t been here for over a year and I really missed it. It was also the first time that I had seen the new BMW M 1000 RR in action in the WorldSBK. It was great to see the BMW family again and to view the progress that we have made with the M RR. That is what made it good weekend.”

The BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team can now look forward to a first in two weeks’ time; Most, in the Czech Republic, will host the WorldSBK for the first time when the sixth event of the season takes place there from 6th to 8th August.

Shaun Muir, Team Principal:

“After Saturday’s race one where we were reasonably happy with the results overall and showed strong lap times, we were looking to carry those over into today. But it was a tough Superpole Race. For sure, Michael felt he needed to be with that front group of riders which yesterday’s pace indicated he could do that. But he unfortunately crashed out which was a disappointment and set him back to 11th on the grid for race two. Tom managed to push his way through and improved on his starting position, which was perfect. Going into the race, there was a bit of a coming together at T1 which unsettled the pack, but Michael settled back into a rhythm. However, he couldn’t find the grip he was looking for. Tom was waiting for his tyre to come to him but again got stuck in a battle where he was just off the leading two packs. Overall, it was a tough race. We expected a little more from the performances but all in all we are showing the improvement of the bike and that gap to the front is getting narrower at every event. This is the target with the podium in sight. We take the positives from this weekend and move to Most where we will pick up the game from there.”

Marc Bongers, Director, BMW Motorrad Motorsport:

“Our achievements did not match our expectations today. Things did not go smoothly. Michael made a very good start to the Superpole race in the morning, but he crashed after letting his motivation get the better of him. The after-effects of that certainly hampered his efforts in the second race. He had a great race nonetheless, finishing sixth from eleventh on the grid. Tom had a really strong Superpole race this morning, moving up from the back of the field to seventh with some outstanding pace. That pace could have taken him to within grasp of a podium from seventh on the grid this afternoon. He fell back a little in the early stages of the race and then battled his way back together with Michael. He then slipped out over the front wheel just before the end, but was able to cross the finishing line in 15th to score a point. Overall, we definitely could have done better this weekend. I think that we have shown potential but we were not able to convert it into results as we had hoped.”

Tom Sykes:

“We managed to start race two on the third row which was a lot better. We got a much cleaner start to the race as the guys did a bit of work to the BMW M 1000 RR. We used the harder rear tyre and just couldn’t find the grip we needed at the beginning of the race but having said that, the bike stayed very constant throughout the race. Unfortunately coming into the last corner before entering the final lap, I tried to close the line and square the corner off and lost the front. It was such a slow speed crash, but I wasn’t able to save it. It’s such a shame, the bike today was good enough for that top-six and it would have been nice to be consistent the whole weekend. It certainly seemed we have made some good improvements including both me and Michael. A disappointing end to the weekend but we can take the positives from it, and we will focus on that and try to build on it for the next round.”

Michael van der Mark:

“This morning’s crash was a stupid mistake by myself. I really wanted to go for it, and on the fastest corners of the track I tried to go even faster which was a silly mistake on my behalf. In race two, I had an okay start. I had a bit of luck at T1 starting in P11 and by the end of lap one I was in fifth but I didn’t have the pace or the grip I was hoping for. I was struggling to keep the bike on track and I just didn’t have any more to give so it was quite tough. But at the end of the race I found a little extra pace and managed to catch and pass Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Alex Lowes so P6 wasn’t too bad in the end. But I really wanted more.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aruba.it Racing Ducati:

#NLDWorldSBK Scott Redding finishes second in a stubborn Race-2. P2 also for Michael Rinaldi in the morning Superpole Race.

The Sunday of Prosecco DOC Dutch Round ends with two podiums finish for the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team thanks to the second place of Scott Redding in Race-2 and the same result achieved by Michael Ruben Rinaldi in the Superpole Race.

Superpole Race

Michael Ruben Rinaldi’s start (from the fourth position) is superb and the Italian rider takes the lead in the first lap. Rinaldi tries to push but on lap 3 he can’t defend himself from Rea (Kawasaki). In the final part of the race, Rinaldi loses momentum, surrendering in the last lap to the attack of Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) and Locatelli (Yamaha), both later penalized for exceeding the track limits at the last corner.

Scott Redding starts from the third position but since the first laps, he doesn’t find a good feeling with the front tire, finishing in fifth position.

Race-2

Redding stays with the leading group from the beginning and his pace increases considerably from the middle of the race. After a great battle with Rinaldi for the third position, Scott starts chasing Locatelli, overtaking him with three laps to go, securing his second podium finish of the weekend.

Rinaldi’s start is once again incisive and in the first 3 laps, he tries to attack Locatelli to take the lead of the race. Since lap 4, however, the number 21 is not able to push effectively and is forced to settle for the eighth position, which allows him to climb to the fifth place in the world ranking.

After the Superpole Race Michael Ruben Rinaldi does a lap of honor of the Assen track riding the Panigale V2 Bayliss 1st Championship 20th Anniversary, the special bike presented last Thursday 22 July to celebrate Troy Bayliss’ first world title in 2001. During the press conference on Friday at the Paddock Show, Michael had the opportunity to exchange a few words with the Australian champion, recalling why he also races with the number 21 (the day he was born in December 1995).

 

Scott Redding on the podium at Assen. Photo courtesy Ducati.
Scott Redding on the podium at Assen. Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #45)

“I’m happy to end the weekend with another podium. I struggled a lot to find the feeling with the front tire but in Race 2 we were able to make that small step that allowed me to keep a better pace. In the beginning, I tried not to push hard to save the front tire and for this reason, I lost a little bit of ground compared to the lead. The pace has improved a lot since the middle of the race but the gap with Rea was too wide to fight for the victory”.

 

Michael Ruben Rinaldi on the Superpole Race podium. Photo courtesy Ducati.
Michael Ruben Rinaldi on the Superpole Race podium. Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)

“Honestly I can’t be satisfied with this weekend. Yesterday I gave my best but I crashed, while today I never had the feeling to be in the ideal conditions. The result of the Superpole Race is clearly positive, but it came after the penalization of Razgatlioglu and Locatelli; after a good start in the afternoon, since the tire performance started dropping, I have been no longer efficient. It’s a bit frustrating: we have to work to find a solution that will allow us to be more consistent”.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:

Locatelli Celebrates First WorldSBK Podium amid Heartbreak for Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

 

Andrea Locatelli. Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Andrea Locatelli. Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rookie Andrea Locatelli celebrated a sensational FIM Superbike World Championship career-first podium of third place after leading Race 2 for more than 10 laps at the TT Circuit Assen today.

The podium came amid heartbreak for championship protagonist Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, who was robbed of the chance to fight for victory after a first corner incident with the GRT Yamaha of Garrett Gerloff. Further frustration caused by a track limits infringement at the final chicane in the 10-lap Superpole Race also denied the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team of a double podium this morning.

Locatelli, having not put a foot wrong all weekend in the Netherlands, missed the chance to enjoy his first podium earlier today as both the young Italian and his teammate Razgatlıoğlu were relegated to fourth and third respectively for crossing into the painted green section of the circuit by just millimetres.

However, “good things come to those who wait” and “Loka” was the star of the day, taking a big step forward in performance to lead the first half of Race 2, coming from fourth on the grid and following up his fifth place in Race 1 yesterday.

In terms of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship, Locatelli closes in on ninth place overall in the riders’ standings, while Razgatlıoğlu’s inability to score in Race 2 sees him relegated to second position, 37 points adrift of leader Jonathan Rea.

The team’s Turkish rider will not need to wait long for a chance to reel Rea back in, as the sixth round of the championship lies just around the corner at the Czech Republic’s oldest permanent circuit – Autodrom Most – from 6-8 August.

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P4 / Race 2: P3

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

I immediately forgot the situation from this morning because I had another chance to race today, and you still focus to get the maximum when you can do it. I’m really happy because we got the first podium, also to do it in the long race, it’s really an amazing feeling. In the short race, you need to push hard but also it’s a shame to make the tiny mistake with the track limits, it was only a few millimetres! Then in Race 2, I got the lead immediately and was able to keep a good pace but in the end I fought a lot with the softer rear tyre. With the conditions like today and yesterday with some sun, we can push in all sessions and I learned and improved every time – now we are faster and I was in front! We have been close to the front all weekend and I am so happy also for my crew. We work so well together, they work hard and we make no mistakes, and also the R1 is working so well. It’s nice to ride here in Assen and we have another chance very soon to continue in this way and try to get some more podiums!

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: DNF

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

In the second race, Garrett made a bad mistake, I am not sure why he tried to do hard braking like this in the first corner – I was surprised and I only feel angry because we lost so many points for the championship. At the start, I passed Rinaldi into the corner but it was not “easy”, it was difficult to stop my own bike so I cannot understand why Garrett arrived inside me. In Most I will only be looking to fight for the win, I am not looking at championship points any more. This weekend, maybe I just had some bad luck, but we fight hard again for the next race.

Paul Denning – Team Principal

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK

What a day of mixed emotions, achievements and missed opportunities. This weekend has been a breakthrough for Andrea – a podium in the Superpole Race but for 20 millimetres of his tyre on the green run-off area and then finally, leading Race 2 handsomely for more than 10 laps and managing the soft tyre choice superbly to achieve his first podium in WorldSBK! A huge congratulations to Andrea and his crew! It’s been a challenging weekend on Toprak’s side but we also have to take the positives. Assen has been Jonathan’s place for some years and to run him as close as we have all weekend, and to be in an undoubted position to fight to win the second race, shows that we can fight to win pretty much anywhere. Toprak had done his job off the start, made his customary, controlled late braking to take the lead into Turn 1, so it’s very difficult to know what Garrett either was or wasn’t thinking to come from that far back and cause the crash. A disappointing end to what turned out to be a very positive weekend, but we’re very much “chin up” and looking forward to redemption in Most.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by GRT Yamaha:

Gerloff’s crash ends GRT’s podium chances in Assen

 

Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy Yamaha.
Garrett Gerloff (31). Photo courtesy Yamaha.

 

The excitement was high for the final day of on-track activity of the Dutch round of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship. With the forecasted rain holding off yet again, hopes were high in the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team garage too, given the impressive race pace shown yesterday in dry conditions by Garrett Gerloff. Although, the outcome was not what the team had hoped.

The American, in fact, made one mistake that compromised his entire day. After only running three laps in the WarmUp (14th with a 1’39.740, on a drying track), he achieved the objective he had set for himself when he recovered all the way to 8th position in the Tissot Superpole Race, having started from the last row. This result allowed him to keep his finishing position as his starting place for the long race of the afternoon. After a fantastic start, he attempted to overtake the leader Toprak Razgatlioglu in turn 1. The two made contact and the Turkish rider crashed out of the race. For the accident caused by his mistake, Gerloff was given a ride through penalty, which relegated him to last place yet again. In the rush to make up as many positions as possible in the final few laps, he crashed in turn 9, ending his already disappointing race. Afterwards, he was apologetic towards both Razgatlioglu and Yamaha, the victims of his mistake on the first lap. He now has two weeks to put the negative Assen weekend behind him and reset his focus, before heading to the next round at the Autodrom Most.

It was a much better day for Kohta Nozane, who concluded his comeback weekend in convincing fashion with a solid Race 2. Having sat out the morning’s WarmUp, the rookie was disappointed by his pace during the Superpole Race and decided to make major changes to the setup of his R1 ahead of the afternoon’s long race. The adjustments proved effective and Nozane’s pace strongly improved in the first part of Race 2. In the latter stages, though, he was unable to stay close to the group of riders he was battling with, due to the pain in his still recovering right middle finger. At the finish line the Japanese was 12th, but he aims to get much closer to the other Yamaha riders starting from the upcoming Czech round.

Garrett Gerloff: 8th / DNF

“I’m devastated and I can only apologise to Toprak and to Yamaha for today. I got a good start from the third row of the grid, I felt the contact in turn one, but I didn’t realise it was Toprak until I looked back. I’m sorry for him, as he paid a big price for my mistake, but also for Yamaha, who have worked tirelessly to mount a championship challenge. I can only apologise to both, although I am well aware that this won’t change the outcome.”

Kohta Nozane: 15th / 12th

“Today my Superpole Race was not that good. I then made a plan with the team in order to set up the bike in the best possible way, we discussed it carefully and by Race 2 the bike was way better. My best lap in the race was faster than the time I set yesterday in qualifying, so I am happy, but my finger is unfortunately not yet 100% recovered, so with around 16 laps to go I started struggling. I couldn’t keep the same pace until the end of the race, so the gap relative to the riders in front became much bigger. In the end I finished 12th, but it was really difficult to maintain this position and keep the others behind me. All the Yamaha riders are riding more or less the same bike and, when I see them be competitive and fast, I feel like I have to push myself to get better and aim higher to be like them, even though I am a rookie and every track is brand new for me. The next race in the Czech Republic will be brand new for many riders, the conditions will be the same for everybody, so I will try to get there with my finger fully recovered and push myself to reach the level of the other Yamaha riders.”

The world championship standings now see Gerloff in 6th place with 105 points, whereas his teammate is 16th with 21. The next time we start our R1s’ engines will be in twoy 3 weeks, when the WorldSBK paddock visits the circuit of Most for the first time. Free Practice 1 will get the show going on Friday 6 August at 10:30 AM, with FP2 later at 3 PM, local time.

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