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Rea Sets Another WorldSBK Record
Jonathan Rea became the first rider to break through the barrier of 100 race wins for a single manufacturer after taking the Superpole Race victory at Assen. An unfortunate collision with a rival in the second race then saw Jonathan no-score. Alex Lowes was unlucky to not finish in the Superpole race but came back with a strong fourth in the final 21-lap race of the weekend.
Jonathan Rea’s record-breaking relationship with his Ninja ZX-10RR and the Assen circuit saw him achieve a total of 100 race wins with one manufacturer after the Superpole Race on Sunday morning.
The planned ten-lap Superpole Race was shortened to nine laps after a sudden red flag was shown on the starting grid. One of the competitor’s machines developed a technical issue that had to be checked before racing could continue.
Rea used all his experience to go from fourth to third to second and then the lead, which he took ultimate control of on the final lap from Alvaro Bautista. Rea’s eventual margin of victory was 0.220 seconds, but Bautista lost one position for exceeding the track limits on the final lap, promoting Toprak Razgatlioglu to second.
Lowes was on schedule for fourth place in the Superpole Race until a technical issue ended his hopes.
Rea was in a confident mood in Race Two, hunting a trio of Assen race wins. He was riding in second place, having closed in on early leader Razgatlioglu, when his rival ran wide into Turn One on lap six. As Razgatlioglu came back onto the racing line Rea was already there and they collided, with both crashing out of contention and no scoring. The race was won by the new championship leader, Bautista.
Lowes was a fighting fourth in the final race, proving that he had a strong pace and determination after two unlucky moments in the earlier Assen races. He was the top Kawasaki scorer in Race Two, for his best race finish of the 2022 season so far.
In the overall points standings, Rea leaves Assen second and Lowes is tenth overall. Rea has 91 points to Bautista’s 109, with Razgatlioglu third on 64. Lowes has 28 points.
After Assen, Round Three of the WorldSBK championship will take place between May 20-22, at Estoril in Portugal.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “In the crash in Race Two, from my point of view, I drew alongside Toprak on the start-finish straight. He braked 15 meters later than normal. He stopped the bike on the curb before going off and sacrificed so much speed that my normal apex racing line was so much faster. In this situation at Assen normally the guy on the outside gives way because someone is coming on the inside. Like I did in Turn One, in the first lap of the race with Lecuona. I went deep - and I understand that you can’t come back onto the track. You cannot make sudden movements into the racing line. I was committed to my line going into T2 later in the race. I was in front when we came together because he hit my hip on the rear side. Unfortunately, it really soured our weekend. My team gave me an incredible bike for the race. I am frustrated for myself, but also for Toprak and the fans. We were deprived of a good race. Two into one when that happens doesn’t work. We have to be happy with taking 100 race wins for Kawasaki in the Superpole Race. It was a great morning for us! It didn’t finish in the best way but I think we can take a lot of confidence that our package is working really well.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “I was pleased with myself to end the weekend with a fourth place in the final race but my pace was better than that. I should not have been in that position. Unfortunately, when Jonathan and Toprak went out, I felt like I should have been able to get on the podium, but I did not feel as good as I expected in Race Two. But if you look at it, starting from the fourth row to finish fourth is not too bad. When Redding and Bassani were battling I had to have a few laps trying to save the tires to try and go fast at the end. The rear was spinning a lot more than I anticipated. It was an OK end to the weekend but I feel I have been a lot better than the results show.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was 13th in the Superpole Race and then tenth in Race Two. He is 14th overall after two rounds.
Oliver König (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) took his Ninja ZX-10RR to 23rd place in the Superpole Race and then 18th place in Race Two. Leon Haslam (TPR Team Pedercini Racing) ended his Superpole race in 17th place. In the final race of his Assen weekend he finished 13th, scoring points.