WSBK Assen: Jonathan Rea third fastest on day one

Kawasaki World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea was third fastest at Assen in free practice on Friday
Kawasaki World Superbike rider Jonathan Rea was third fastest at Assen in free practice on Friday

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea was right in the mix as practice got underway on Friday for the fourth round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen.

Rea ended the opening day of free practice third fastest on the Ninja ZX-10R behind team-mate Tom Sykes and Ducati’s Chaz Davies, who headed the times with a best lap in 1m 35.748s.

Ulsterman Rea was 0.442s in arrears, with the top six completed by Leon Haslam on the Red Devils Aprilia, Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda) and series rookie Jordi Torres on the second of the Red Devils Aprilia RSV4s.

Rea has won four of the six races so far and twice finished as the runner-up to open up a lead of 26 points at the top of the standings over British rider Haslam.

Meanwhile, Tyco BMW’s Seeley set the provisional pole time in the Pirelli National 1000cc Superstock class after the opening qualifying session at Brands Hatch in Kent.

A podium finisher in his first race of the new season aboard his BMW Motorrad S1000RR at Donington Park behind Hudson Kennaugh and fellow countryman Josh Elliott in round one, Seeley was quickly into his stride at the Indy circuit and hit the top by 0.162s from Adam Jenkinson, with James Rose and Morello Kawasaki rider Elliott the top four.

“The first session on the bike felt pretty good today and although we made a change midway through, we reverted back to the original setting for the second session,” Seeley said.

“We did tidy things up at the front end a bit and worked on consistency during that second outing, which I’m pleased with.

“I know there’s more time to come from both myself and the S1000RR Tyco BMW, maybe that will be with the help of a new tyre, but we have the race pace, so a good opening day all round and provisional pole is a decent start.”

In the Motorpoint Supersport class, Gearlink Kawasaki’s Glenn Irwin was second fastest behind Kyle Ryde, with Andy Reid in fourth on the Team Traction Control Yamaha.

Portadown man Marshall Neill was 13th fastest on the In Competition Yamaha ahead of final qualifying on Saturday, with the Sprint race scheduled for a 5.15pm start over 18 laps.

James Ellison led the way in the MCE British Superbike class on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki from Buildbase BMW’s Ryuichi Kiyonari, with Milwaukee Yamaha’s Josh Brookes next ahead of Danny Buchan (Be Wiser Kawasaki) and reigning champion Shane Byrne on the PBM Kawasaki.

Tommy Bridewell was the top Tyco BMW rider in ninth position although Toomebridge man Michael Laverty has left himself with work to do after ending Friday in 21st place.