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Assen WorldSBK, Race 1 | Nicholas Spinelli reaps rewards from tyre risk in shock win on debut

Nicholas Spinelli has claimed a shock victory on his maiden outing in the WorldSBK Championship after capitalising on a risky tyre selection and an advantageously timed early red flag to be declared the winner in race one at Assen.

The Italian - standing in for the injured Danilo Petrucci on the Barni Spark Racing Ducati - is making his first appearance on WorldSBK machinery in the Netherlands this weekend, a factor that would have likely played a part in him being the only rider to risk intermediate tyres front and rear to start a race being held in mixed conditions.

Indeed, after rain had affected both free practice and the earlier qualifying session, the moist air and cool conditions meant a circuit that was dry in some parts but still slippery in some of the more critical higher speed bends. However, with high winds also bringing in a mix of sunny spells and intermittent drizzle, there was always likely to be a gamble on the start line.


And yet, of the 22 starters, only Spinelli - a race winner in MotoE this year already and a podium winner in the wet at WorldSSP level in Australia last year - chose to go the full treaded route, with most on the grid opting for slicks in the hope the track would dry over the 22 laps.

However, it wasn't long before riders began to question their wisdom as Spinelli - starting 11th on the grid - quickly surged his way to the front, getting the power down as his rivals slithered in the wet to assume the lead by Turn 7.

Such was his advantage, Spinelli would find himself more than 20secs clear of the chasing pack by lap three, an advantage he'd maintain until the mid-way stage when the tide of momentum began to swing back towards those on slicker rubber.

Indeed, a worthwhile risk though Spinelli's tyre decision on the grid might have been, it was evident as the race wore on that he wouldn't be able to maintain his lead as the track dried, with the chasing pack cutting the margin down to less than three seconds with seven laps to go.

However, fortune would serve to shine down on Spinelli, when the red flags were deployed due to oil on circuit from Andrea Locatelli's expiring Yamaha. With the race over half completed, Spinelli was declared the winner with full points.

Ending up with a winning margin of just under two seconds, the success not only marks a first WorldSBK triumph for Spinelli on his debut in what will surely go down as one of the series' most shocking wins, it also sees stalwart independent team Barni Spark Racing achieve its first-ever win in the premier class, several years on from the title-winning success it enjoyed in the European Superstock Championship.

With Spinelli up front, it denied the chance for Toprak Razgatlioglu to build on his Catalunya success as he settled for 'best of the rest' in second place, the Turk getting the better of Alvaro Bautista after a spirited battle in the chasing pack.

They might have included Andrea Iannone among their battle but for the Italian - who ran second to Spinelli initially - crashing out early on.

Remy Gardner just missed out on his first WorldSBK podium en route to fourth, ahead of Alex Lowes on the best of the Kawasaki contingent and Jonathan Rea, the Pata PROMETEON Yamaha rider unable to make the most of his pole position in the conditions but picking up his best result of the season nevertheless in sixth.


BMW duo Michael van der Mark and Scott Redding brought it home for seventh and eighth, the latter achieving his best finish of the season, with Axel Bassani and top Honda Xavi Vierge in ninth and tenth.

Nicolo Bulega struggled in the conditions having started second en route to 11th, while Locatelli was classified in 12th place despite his DNF, from Dominique Aegerter in 13th, Tarran Mackenzie in 14th - scoring his first points of the year - and Brad Ray 15th.

2024 WorldSBK Results | Assen | Race 1 Results | Round 3 of 12 [Red flag, full points awarded]
1Nicholas Spinelli🇮🇹Barni Spark RacingDucati Panigale V4 R14 Laps
2Toprak Razgatlioglu🇹🇷ROKiT BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR+1.979
3Alvaro Bautista🇪🇦Aruba RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+2.089
4Remy Gardner🇦🇺GYTR GRTYamaha R1+4.851
5Alex Lowes🇬🇧Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR+5.147
6Jonathan Rea🇬🇧Pata PROMOTEONYamaha R1+5.376
7Michael van der Mark🇳🇱ROKiT BMW MotorradBMW M 1000 RR+5.545
8Scott Redding🇬🇧Bonovo Action RacingBMW M 1000 RR+11.271
9Axel Bassani🇮🇹Kawasaki Racing TeamKawasaki ZX-10RR+11.476
10Xavi Vierge🇪🇦Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R+17.034
11Nicolo Bulega🇮🇹Aruba RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+1 Sector
12Andrea Locatelli🇮🇹Pata PROMOTEONYamaha R1+4 Sectors
13Dominique Aegerter🇨🇭GYTR GRTYamaha R1+4 Sectors
14Tarran Mackenzie🇬🇧Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+4 Sectors
15Bradley Ray🇬🇧MotoxracingYamaha R1+1 Lap
16Garrett Gerloff🇺🇲Bonovo Action RacingBMW M 1000 RR+1 Lap
17Adam Norrodin🇲🇾Petronas MIE RacingHonda CBR1000RR-R+1 Lap
18Philipp Oettl🇩🇪GMT 94Yamaha R1+2 Laps
19Sam Lowes🇬🇧Elf Marc VDS RacingDucati Panigale V4 R+2 Laps
DNFMichael Ruben Rinaldi🇮🇹Motocorsa RacingDucati Panigale V4 R-
DNFTito Rabat🇪🇦Puccetti RacingKawasaki ZX-10RR-
DNFAndrea Iannone🇮🇹Team Go ElevenDucati Panigale V4 R-
WIker Lecuona🇪🇦Team HRCHonda CBR1000RR-R-

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