Kawaskai’s Jonathan Rea scored a record-equalling 12th WorldSBK race win at Assen this lunchtime with a near start-to-finish leading performance in race one, holding off local hero Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha) by just under a second.
Chaz Davies came through from a third row start to finish third on the Aruba Ducati, 1.2s down on Rea, with the slow-starting Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) fourth, making up a lot of ground to finish 1.4s behind Rea in an Assen thriller.
Rea led for most of the early part of the 21-lap Assen race, but just before halfway van der Mark sent the sun-kissed locals wild with a clean pass to take the lead.
Rea reasserted himself shortly after with Davies coming through into second on lap 12, dropping back to take third.
Xavi Fores (Barni Ducati) was hassling Magic Mikey for third for some time, in a four-rider, three-manufacturer, fight.
Four became five as Sykes’ race set-up came to him and he tagged on the back of Fores with seven laps to go.
As the Spaniard slowed, to finally finish fifth, Sykes passed under braking and tried to catch the top riders.
Three laps to go and the top three were covered by less than a second, and with Sykes right with them the only real certainty on the final lap was that Rea would win - barring disaster that never came his way.
Marco Melandri (Aruba Ducati) was sixth, the resurgent Loris Baz (Althea BMW) seventh and Argentinean rider Leandro Mercado (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) eighth.
Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) rounded out the top ten places.
Poleman Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha ) had a disaster in 12th place after taking to the grid on what he described as his spare bike which, due to the one-bike rule, might get him a visit from technical director Scott Smart.
The lone Fireblade rider, PJ Jacobsen (Triple M Honda), was 14th.
With one race to go tomorrow, Jonathan Rea leads Davies by 21 points after seven races.