Imperious Jonathan Rea clinches treble at Assen and extends title lead
Jonathan Rea wrapped up a terrific treble at Assen on Sunday to extend his lead at the top of the World Superbike Championship.
The Kawasaki rider became the first rider in the history of the series to win 13 races at a single circuit following an emphatic victory in Saturday’s opening race.
And Rea lifted that benchmark to 15 wins with a double on Sunday, beating Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Ducati) by 3.5s in the Superpole sprint race, with championship rival Toprak Razgatlioglu completing the rostrum on the Pata Yamaha.
Rea then secured his hat-trick in race two, working his way through the pack from eighth place on lap one.
He picked off Scott Redding (Aruba.it Ducati) to move into second and then reeled in Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha), making his pass at the chicane to snatch the lead with 11 laps to go.
The six-time world champion broke clear and went on to win by 1.6s, with Redding passing WSBK rookie Locatelli to clinch the runner-up spot.
Rea said: “It was nice to make it three-from-three here at Assen. We achieved it after we changed the rear tyre choice from yesterday. With the overnight rain the track’s grip level was a little bit lower and the temperature was maybe three or four degrees lower.
"It was nice to win with the soft tyre choice yesterday and the standard race tyre option today. It is a massive testament to the guys in the pitbox and what they have done," he added.
"We made quite a big chassis change in the set-up this weekend and it was easier to ride. You could see in my passes, I could put the bike where I wanted and it was very nimble, yet stable in the fast sections as well.”
Welshman Chaz Davies (Team Go Eleven Ducati), Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) and Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad) were the top six in race three.
Turkish rider Razgatlioglu – who led the title race by two points coming to Assen – was dumped out of the race on opening lap after contact from American Garrett Gerloff at the first corner. Gerloff received a ride-through penalty for the incident and later crashed out on the GRT Yamaha.
Rea’s lead at the top is now a healthy 37 points following the fifth round of the championship.
The 32-year-old has now won a remarkable 92 races for Kawasaki since he joined the manufacturer in 2015, increasing his career total of WSBK victories to 107.
Rea has also won eight times this season and only finished off the rostrum once after crashing out of race three at Donington Park in the previous round.
Round six takes place at Most in the Czech Republic from August 6-8.