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Assen WSBK: Rea wins race one as Hayden takes debut podium

Reigning World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea has taken the first World Superbike race win at Assen this afternoon with Chaz Davies second while former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden secured his first series podium.

In a close and hard-fought five-bike battle, Rea emerged victorious after a couple of early errors and the Kawasaki man was helped by crashes from team-mate Tom Sykes and local hero Michael Van Der Mark, who lost the front at Madijk at the start of the penultimate lap.

The war of attrition was also good for MV Agusta’s Leon Camier, who took an outstanding fourth place, holding off the might of the works-backed BMWs of Jordi Torres, Markus Reiterberger, and the Ioda Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori.


Poleman Sykes led away from the line with Rea, Davide Giugliano, Sylvain Guintoli, Van Der Mark and Davies in tow and it took just a couple of corners for Davies to begin his march to the front, taking the Dutchman and the Frenchman on lap one as Giugliano ran wide at the chicane.

Rea passed Sykes on lap two as the Kawasaki man ran wide into Madijk and Davies was soon all over the Huddersfield rider, going past him as he made the same mistake again on lap three while Davies found some incredible drive out of Ruskenhoek and passed Rea for the lead.

Van Der Mark recovered from a small error and got back onto the rear of the pack while Guintoli slid off his Pata Yamaha and out of the race. With 16 to go, Rea tried a move on Davies into Haarbocht but ran wide and then missed a gear, allowing Sykes and Van Der Mark to follow the Welshman through.

Honda’s Van Der Mark began to look for a way past Sykes and managed through the fast Hog Heide section - a favoured passing place of Rea in the past - and Rea himself went back past his team-mate a lap later at the same place.

Sykes tried to come back into the Geert Timmer chicane but got onto the outside kerb and then locked the front, crashing into the gravel and out of the race.

With 12 laps to go, Rea was back under Van Der Mark for second as the Camier, Torres and Reiterberger upped their pace and dropped into the 1’37s as Giugliano began to encounter problems with his Aruba Ducati.

Three laps later, Van Der Mark made a pass for the lead, going into the chicane ahead of Rea but the Irishman was back past at Ruskenhoek. Davies was losing a little ground and the trio went into Hog Heide three abreast but Davies held on to it.

With six to go, Van Der Mark went under Rea into Haarbocht but was re-passed at Ossebroeken. Rea was now in the hunt for a Ducati scalp and went under Davies at Hog Heide but Davies was back into the chicane.

Two laps later, Van Der Mark took Rea into Haarbocht again but couldn’t hold it and Rea then set up a move on the exit of Be Bult which took him into the lead as Van Der Mark passed Davies for second at the chicane.


The crowd then went nuts as Van Der Mark wrestled the lead from Rea but a mistake at De Bult saw Rea back in front again and he stayed there as Van Der Mark lost the front at Madijk, promoting Hayden to the final podium spot.

Davies wasn’t letting it go but saved a crash on his knee on the last lap when the front let go and Rea crossed the line with a 1.6s lead.

Camier finished more than a second ahead of Torres, with Savadori and Reiterberger in sixth and seventh. Alex Lowes started the race brightly but then slid backwards before finding some pace again to end in eighth.

Josh Brookes also made a good start and leapt up to ninth but after a couple of laps in the 1’41s was passed by Roman Ramos and former Supersport rider Lucas Mathias, finishing in 11th.

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