Bautista emerges as Assen winner after Rea and Razgatlioglu clash
The Spanish rider claimed the Championship lead with victory in Race 2 ahead of Locatelli and Lecuona
Race 2 highlights – WorldSBK
Fighting at the front in the early laps of the race, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) battled with Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) but it came to an early end on Lap 6. Razgatlioglu ran wide at the right-hander, but remained on track, with Rea making his way through Turn 1 shortly after. The pair collided on the exit of the corner with both riders being forced to retire from the race, leaving Bautista to take the win.
Bautista was able to pull away at the front of the field to win by 8.7s ahead of Locatelli. Reflecting on his victory, he said: “I was quite fast and quite consistent. I sometimes just tried to relax because I saw the gap was increasing a lot. I started to make some small mistakes, but I preferred to just keep the rhythm and concentrate until the end. Consistency is the key for this season, especially because Toprak and Jonathan are very fast. I don’t think I can win a lot of races like I did three years ago. I think this weekend has been very important for me and for my team. In Aragon, we had a different setup on the bike than the winter tests. At that time, we thought it could be good performing. Here, I struggled a lot during Friday and Saturday and today my team changed a little bit the setup. This morning, I found a good bike for me, an easy bike, and more competitive. Now, fortunately, we found one step that allows me to go faster.”
Andrea Locatelli was second after passing Lecuona on lap 18, claiming his best WorldSBK result so far. He commented: “For me it’s amazing to finish on the podium. It was our objective, and we are here, we take the points. I’m sorry for my teammate and Jonny, because they were really fast but this is the race. When I saw I had the possibility to get a podium, I tried to push. I tried to close the gap to Iker, and I could finish in front of him. Now it’s so difficult to catch up with Bautista so we need to improve a little more.”
Bautista and Locatelli were joined on the podium by Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) in third place. The Spanish Rookie claimed his first WorldSBK podium with Honda. Reacting to his first podium, he said: “I’m very happy, I didn’t expect this podium for sure. All weekend, I felt very fast and very good with the bike. I have very good feedback. I had some ups and downs during the weekend. In the first race, I finished in P5. I feel comfortable with the bike, I feel fast. In the Superpole Race, again I finished in P5 but closer to the top guys. I tried to use a bit more tyre in the first laps to make some gap with the second group. When I saw the crash with Rea and Toprak, I knew it was my opportunity to overtake Alvaro and Loca. Alvaro went very fast; I couldn’t follow him. All the race, I have a small gap to Loca but in the end I don’t have tyre because I used them in the first laps. He overtook me. I’m very happy, very excited. Thanks to the team I had two big crashes and they repaired the bike very, very fast.”
Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) bounced back from technical issues in Race 1 and the Superpole Race to take fourth on Sunday afternoon after battling with Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing). Redding finished in fifth place, his best finish since switching to BMW, after Bassani was given a three-second time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits throughout the race.
Reacting to his weekend, Lowes said: “During the weekend overall I’ve been quite fast. This has been positive, obviously qualifying in second. I’ve been unlucky in the first two races because I think we should have been able to get top five results. Today, I really struggled at the start of the race. Then I wasn’t able to stay with Locatelli. Not the way I really wanted to really ride, but fourth place is still a fourth place. We have to take the positive.”
Following his first top five for BMW, Redding said: “There was chaos in the first corner, and I got lucky to come through. I was pulling away from the guys behind, holding the gap to the guys in front and I thought maybe I could catch a bit. Then there was the crash between Jonny and Toprak. The pace in front, they just rolled the throttle. I was on the limit trying to get on the back of them. I got on the back of them and I was quite comfortable. I was able to come through on Bassani, Rinaldi, Alex and feeling quite good but literally at 110%. With a few laps to go, I got a small hole in the rear tyre on the right side, so I had no rear grip. I was tipping in and it was just coming around. I just wanted to finish. Alex passed me, Bassani passed me. We battled a bit, I tried to be defensive but there was no grip.”
After the race, both Razgatlioglu and Rea shared their point of view on the incident that took them both out of contention for the win.
Rea said: “Just a little bit frustrated. Going into T1, he completely outbraked himself and almost stopped the bike on the kerb on the outside to avoid going off track. At that point, his corner was so slow. I kept my normal line and carried on with my race if you like. You expect, especially when you know someone’s right beside you, that they’re going to be there, and he cut straight back. I understand it’s a racing accident. I was there, I was in front with track position, and I felt like myself and Toprak were also robbed of a good race.”
Razgatlioglu commented: “I tried to brake hard at the first corner and I ran a little bit wide, but I didn’t go outside the track. I’m turning also onto the racing line. I touched the kerb but I stayed on the racing line, I didn’t come back inside. I saw Jonny and he was very fast. After, we crashed. I think for me this is a racing incident. I think Jonny needs to look at me. I go a little bit wide, I stay on the track, but he’s not looking. He’s just opened the gas and we crashed together. I am surprised to crash with Jonny, normally he doesn’t make this mistake because he’s a WorldSBK legend.”
Championship leader Bautista moved 18 points clear off Rea in the standings, with Razgatlioglu in third with 64 points.
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 become the first rider to break through the barrier of 100 race wins for a single manufacturer, in 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 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 new championship leader, Bautista.
Lowes was a fighting fourth in the final race, proving that he had 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 (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “In the crash in Race Two, from my point of view, I drew alongside Toprak on the start-finish straight. He braked 15 metres later than normal. He stopped the bike on the kerb 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. Unfortunate, as it really soured our weekend. My team gave me an incredible bike for the race. I am frustrated for myself, but also 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 (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “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 tyres 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.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport in Assen: moving in the right direction.
Fifth place for Scott Redding from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team in the second race on Sunday.
Loris Baz from the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team finishes sixth in the first race and in the Superpole race – team tops the Independent standings
Michael van der Mark ends his comeback weekend with a strong eighth place in race two.
Assen. BMW Motorrad Motorsport took the hoped-for step forward at the second race weekend of the FIM Superbike World Championship 2022 (WorldSBK) at Assen (NLD). The best result was recorded by Scott Redding (GBR) from the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, with fifth place in the second race on Sunday. Before that, Loris Baz (FRA) from the Bonovo action BMW Racing Team had completed race one on Saturday and the Superpole race in sixth place. Making his comeback after an enforced absence due to injury, Michael van der Mark (NED / BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) rediscovered his old rhythm and completed the weekend with eighth place in race two on Sunday. Eugene Laverty (IRL / Bonovo action BMW Racing Team) was unable to take part in the races after falling during the first practice session on Friday.
Redding showed on Saturday that he now had a better feel for his BMW M 1000 RR than was the case at the season-opener two weeks previously at MotorLand Aragón (ESP). He finished the first race in ninth position. The British rider took another step forward in race two on Sunday afternoon. He moved up into fourth place before falling back a little on the final lap. Redding finished the race in fifth. Team-mate van der Mark was competing in his first races of the year after recovering from a leg fracture. After 13th position in Saturday’s race, he gave a convincing performance to claim eighth in the second race on Sunday.
The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team had made a good start to the season when Baz finished seventh at Aragón – and continued in that vein at Assen. Baz secured sixth spot in the first race on Saturday, once again providing the team’s best race result in the WorldSBK, as well as claiming the first win for the young team in the Independent Teams classification. Baz finished sixth again in the Superpole race on Sunday morning. However, Baz retired early from race two on Sunday afternoon after taking a tumble. The Bonovo action BMW Racing Team continues to top the Independent standings nonetheless. Baz’s team-mate Laverty was forced to follow the races from the sidelines. After his fall in the first practice session on Friday, severe swelling in his right forearm meant that he was unable to safely control his motorbike.
The third round of the WorldSBK season 2022 will take place from 20th to 22nd May at Estoril, Portugal.
Quotes after the Assen races.
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “A positive trend was there for all to see, especially today. Of course, some rivals failed to finish, but fifth place for Scott Redding and a very respectable eighth position for Michael van der Mark are results that we can build on. Hats off to Michael for this performance. Unfortunately, Loris Baz fell in race two. He recorded very good results once again in race one and in the Superpole race. Saturday was not an easy day. We were unable to find the right set-up for Scott and Michael was still finding his way back after his injury break. However, we improved as the weekend progressed. Scott now definitely feels better and has a better understanding of the motorbike. It was also a big shame that Eugene was unable to race after his fall on Friday. He will be back strong at Estoril. Overall, it was another weekend of mixed feelings, but we will take these positive race results to the next round and continue in this direction at Estoril.”
Scott Redding, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 13 / R01: 9 / SP Race: 11 / R02: 5): “In race two there was the crash between Jonathan and Toprak in front and the pace slowed down a little bit. That gave me the chance to get back into the group and then I was just hanging in, giving pretty much 110 per cent every lap to be there. I think you can also see it if you watch the race that I was trying everything. Then in the last three, four laps, I got a hole in the tyre on the right side so I had no grip. That was sad really because I feel that I deserved the fourth place because I really rode hard and good. But it’s okay. To finish with a top-six result – it was P5 then due to another rider’s penalty – I am happy with that. But we still need to do more. I am riding on the limit and I am still 15 seconds behind in a race that felt good for me. We can be happy that we had a good result for us but we still need to work, that is the main thing for me. I want to win. This for me is okay, but it is not what I want and I think we can get there. Hopefully we can find something that can give us half a second – that is what we are looking for in general to make the next step.”
Loris Baz, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (SP: 7 / R01: 6 / SP Race: 6 / R02: DNF): “It was of course great to finish sixth in yesterday’s first race. Also the Superpole race was good despite the fact that I made a terrible start. I was 15th in turn one but managed to come back to sixth. It was really fun race, a really aggressive one. That was good and I secured sixth on the grid for race two, but it was again a really difficult start; we struggle a lot to launch the bike at the moment. I lost the rear going into turn one, touched Nozane and he crashed while I went straight. I am really sorry for him because that is a kind of thing I of course don’t like. Then I was last so I was pushing hard to come back and I lost the front in a fast turn. But that’s how it it. I am sorry for the team and the guys but I was trying hard to bring the bike back into my group where I was fighting all weekend. It’s a shame but overall I am happy with the hard job we have been doing all weekend and how I was riding the bike. We need to solve some things again to improve for Estoril but, yes, we try again next time!”
Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team (SP: 15 / R01: 13 / SP Race: 15 / R02: 8): “I am really happy with the weekend. Yesterday and in today’s Superpole race it was about getting back into the rhythm. I knew that I did not have the speed to fight in the top ten. Then in race two I had a good pace, a lot better than yesterday and I had some nice battles. I was in a group with Vierge and Mahias and in the last two laps I was able to pull away a little bit from them so I finished eighth. I am really satisfied with this weekend. We came without any expectations, we just wanted to ride the bike. I think I have never been so happy with a 13th and a eighth place.”
Eugene Laverty, Bonovo action BMW Racing Team (DNS): “I’m very disappointed to have to watch the races from the sidelines after my mistake in FP1. I tried to ride again in FP3 but it was clear that I had no power in my right arm to ride safely. My team have been very supportive and that motivates me highly to return to Estoril at 100%. Thank you also to the marshals and medical staff who do a top job here at Assen. I was always in good hands.”
Lecuona and Team HRC celebrate their first SBK podium this season, Vierge in the top nine
Team HRC and rider Iker Lecuona today celebrated their first WorldSBK podium of the 2022 season, the Spaniard crossing the line third in the final race of the weekend at the Assen TT Circuit in The Netherlands. Xavi Vierge finished another determined race 2 in the top nine and looks forward to returning to full fitness so as to exploit his full potential.
The morning’s Tissot Superpole race got off to a slightly delayed start after a rider had a problem on the grid. The race was therefore reduced to just nine laps and ran in dry conditions (air 13°C, track 21°C). Based on yesterday’s Superpole results, Lecuona lined up in eighth on the grid and Vierge from fourteenth. While Lecuona held his starting position through the first corners, Vierge made up five places off the line to place just behind his team-mate in ninth. Iker soon gained a position to move into seventh place, while Xavi dropped back a little, lying eleventh. Lecuona battled Rinaldi for sixth in the final stages, passing him on the penultimate lap and making up yet another position on the last lap to cross the line a gutsy fifth. Vierge was unable to keep pace with the group immediately ahead of him through the final laps, finishing the sprint race in twelfth place.
The third and final race of the weekend also ran in mild conditions. Thanks to his Superpole race result, Lecuona lined up fifth on the grid for this last 21-lap race, and Vierge fourteenth. Both Team HRC riders made a strong start, Iker lying fourth through the first turns and Vierge ninth. Xavi battled with Mahias and then Van der Mark as the small group pushed for eighth position. Unable to make further progress considering the gap that had opened up in front of them, Vierge ultimately crossed the line ninth, nevertheless scoring a handful of important championship points.
Lecuona held fifth position until lap five when an incident involving Rea and Razgatlioglu saw the Team HRC rider benefit and move temporarily into the lead. Soon passed by Bautista, Lecuona did well to hold second until the final stages when Locatelli moved in front of him, meaning that the Spaniard scored a very well-deserved third place finish. This result marks Lecuona’s first ever WorldSBK podium and is also the first top three result for Team HRC this season.
After the first two championship rounds, Lecuona holds fifth place in the championship standings with 50 points, while Vierge lies eighth with a tally of 30. There is now almost a month’s break before the third WorldSBK round, which will take place at the Estoril circuit in Portugal over the weekend of 20-22 May.
Iker Lecuona 7
SPR P5 Race 2 P3
“I’m really, really happy. I felt very fast, very good all weekend with the bike but have had some ups and downs, scoring P2 in FP1 but then also suffering two crashes, so I perhaps wasn’t expecting the podium but maybe top five or so. We got that in Race 1 and then today, in the Superpole race, I felt very comfortable and closer to the top guys. So before race 2 I thought, OK, it’s time to attack. Starting from the second row, I knew that if I used the tyres a bit more in the first laps, I could stay closer to the front guys and try to break away with them. Then, when I saw Toprak and Rea crash, I knew I had an opportunity to fight for the podium. Alvaro was very fast, and I couldn’t stick with him for long, but I was able to maintain a small gap to Locatelli for many laps. By the final stages, my rear tyre was finished, and he passed me, but third place is just fine. I was very happy to bring my Honda to the podium. I must say thank you to the team for the great job they’ve done here, so a big thanks to them, to my manager and to my family, who always support me so well. We have the potential, but we need more time, so we need to stay focused and keep working with our feet on the ground. We may face some tracks that are less favourable to us, so our target is to keep working hard, step by step and see what will happen.”
Xavi Vierge 97
SPR P12 Race 2 P9
“First of all, congratulations to my team-mate Iker and to the team because they’ve had an amazing weekend. I’m really happy for them and I think that these results also serve to motivate me. On my side, I think we once again “saved” the weekend because even though I expected to be in a better physical condition before arriving here, we realized right from FP1 that I was going to suffer. Looking at the positives, I completed all three races and collected some points. Now it will be extremely important over the next three weeks we have before Estoril to return to my normal life and start to train properly so that I can arrive in Portugal fully fit and fight to get where we want to be.”
Alvaro Bautista triumphs in Race-2 of the Dutch Round. Rinaldi seventh. Bulega just off the podium in WorldSSP
An extraordinary Sunday for Alvaro Bautista and the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team. The Spanish rider took a stunning victory at the end of a race that saw the clash between Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) and Rea (Kawasaki). Michael Rinaldi gritted his teeth and finished seventh after a difficult weekend.
P3 – Alvaro Bautista attacks from the start and recovers three positions to turn second at the first corner. On lap 6 he takes the lead after a great overtaking on Razgatlioglu (Yamaha). In the last lap, however, he has to surrender to Rea (Kawasaki) and then drop one position for exceeding the limits at the last chicane, according to Race Direction.
P8 – As in Race-1, Michael Rinaldi gets off a great start recovering seven positions in the first lap. The Italian rider tries to defend the fifth place but his race pace is not incisive in the second half of the race.
P1 – Starting from third position, Alvaro Bautista engages in the usual duel with Rea and Razgatlioglu until their crash on lap4. After overtaking Leucona (Honda) to regain the top spot, *Bautista maintained a fantastic race pace: he won by a large margin, closing the second weekend of the 2022 season at the top of the World Superbike Championship standings with an 18-point lead.
P7 – Michael Rinaldi gets off once again to a very good start. After four laps the Italian rider is in fifth position but from the middle of the race the difficulties of the previous days come back and prevent him from being able to be competitive
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19)
“I don’t know what to say: after the Superpole Race I was angry because of a penalty that I didn’t think was fair. But I stayed focused, got a good start, and fought for first place straight away. I was lucky not to be involved in the crash between Toprak and Rea, then in the next few meters I was even hit but I don’t know by whom. Then I started to make my pace. I thank the team for giving me the best bike this early in the season. This is a great victory”.
Michael Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #21)
“It’s been a weekend below expectations. Except for the very first few laps, we were never able to find a good feeling with the bike, especially when the rear grip started to drop. So it’s been a defensive three races but unlike Aragon, in this round, the riders in front went much faster. We will analyze the data and try to do better in the next races”.
P4 – Despite a difficult start from P3, Nicolò Bulega pushes the Panigale V2 of the Aruba.it Racing WSSP team and on lap8 gets back the third position. Halfway through the race, the Italian rider manages to take second place, overtaking Baldassarri (Yamaha), but then he can’t find the pace to finish the race on the podium.
Nicolò Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WSSP Team #11)
“It was a bit more difficult than yesterday’s race because the pace of the front guys was a bit faster. I’m satisfied though. It’s a good fourth place just three-tenths of a second off the podium. I tried until the end but maybe the tire choice didn’t help us. I’m now third in the championship. The objective is to close the gap with our rivals who are going really fast”.