Reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea secured the Assen double win in race two today at Assen, but was pushed hard by team-mate Tom Sykes and had only 0.025s in hand as they crossed the line after 21 laps.
It was Rea’s 200th WorldSBK start and he has now made it 13 double wins in his career and is only one race win behind Carl Fogarty’s record at the Dutch track.
It looked like the works Kawasaki man was in cruise mode when he took the lead on lap four but Sykes was always in the mix and a moment by the Isle of Man resident, blown wide at Ramshoek by the wind , allowed Sykes back on to the rear wheel of his rival.
Sykes didn’t look like he was in a position to put a pass on Rea - who used the soft rear Pirelli for the first time this weekend due to higher track temperatures - but got his exit from the Geert Timmer Chicane absolutely right on the final lap and almost snatched the win.The Huddersfield rider has been in hospital twice since Aragon with a digestive infection but battled through the weekend and is now solidly in runner-up spot on the points table. Chaz Davies bounced back from his race-one nightmare to take 16 points for third place.
The Aruba Ducati man ran good pace in warm-up but said in parc ferme he didn’t have the feeling he needed and had a couple of near crashes, so knocked it off and took third place. The Welshman was challenged hard by a rampaging Michael Van Der Mark who came through the field like a greased weasel.
The hometown hero managed to haul himself on to the back wheel of Davies but then a moment similar to Rea’s saw him lose the tow and then he dropped to a a second a lap slower than Davies. Fourth is a result for the Pata Yamaha man and he was followed home by team-mate Alex Lowes.
The Derby resident had to fight his way from 15th and put in some god laptimes when he found some clear track. He was chased through by MV Agusta’s Leon Camier who finished only a second behind Lowes. Jordi Torres again had to wait until the fuel load went down on his Althea BMW and then made progress to seventh.
Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty started well, leading the race in the early stages but he slipped back to eighth, one ahead of Nicky Hayden’s Red Bull Honda. Team-mate Stefan Bradl completed the top 12 as Lorenzo Savadori crashed at the fast Ruskenhoek corner.
Marco Melandri also fell, going down on the exit of Strubben as he tried to pass Xavi Fores. It looked as though the Italian’s Panigale just hooked a bump as he got on the gas and the front wheel washed away. Fores had to take evasive action and wasn’t able to find his pace again, finishing in 13th place.