Jonathan Rea makes history at Assen and regains World Superbike title lead
Jonathan Rea made became the first rider in World Superbike history to win 13 races at a single circuit following an emphatic victory on Saturday at Assen.
The Kawasaki rider, who maintained his unbroken run of five pole starts from five rounds this season, wrapped up a comfortable win in race one at the ‘Cathedral’ from Ducati’s Scott Redding, with key title rival Toprak Razgatlioglu finishing on the rostrum in third on the Pata Yamaha.
The race was red-flagged with two laps to go after satellite BMW rider Jonas Folger crashed out of seventh place at the high-speed turns 6 and 7.
Rea has now reclaimed the lead of the championship after he lost ground following an uncharacteristic crash in race three at Donington Park in the previous round.
Going into Sunday’s Superpole race and the second full-distance race, the 32-year-old is seven points clear of Turkey’s Razgatlioglu at the top following his sixth win of the season.
The six-time world champion also clinched a staggering 90th victory for Kawasaki and his 105th career World Superbike success to continue his dominance in the series.
His winning margin was 3.3s over Redding, with Razgatlioglu - who qualified second despite crashing early in Superpole qualifying - a close third ahead of BMW Motorrad’s Michael van der Mark.
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha) was next, while American Garrett Gerloff battled his way through the field on the GRT Yamaha for sixth after starting from the back of the grid following a crash in qualifying.
Eugene Laverty is absent this weekend after his RC Squadra Corse BMW team decided to skip Assen to concentrate on an ‘internal restructuring’ process, vowing to return stronger.