Eugene Laverty on a Ducati in front of his current BMW brand colleague Tom Sykes, photographed by us in Aragon 2019 in April (in the picture front right). We had already recognized and pointed out before the start of the season that he had ended up in a miserable team for this season, and now we received the final confirmation with their withdrawal for the Assen round. The WSBK’s notorious unlucky fellow has to watch from home while the fifth lap is being driven in the Netherlands.

After FP2: Rea, Redding and Gerloff convincing – Toprak with difficulties

After Scott Redding had set the third-best time of the day in FP1 in the morning, the reigning world champion, Garrett Gerloff and Alvaro Bautista, impressed in the second free practice. As a double winner in 2019, at that time still on Ducati, the latter was the absolute surprise with the Honda at the end of FP2 with the fourth-best time of the day. Only with 5th place behind BMW ace Tom Sykes, Toprak Razgatlioglu clearly fell short of the expectations of his fans. However, we had already made it clear in advance that his best result so far in Assen was only three ninth places. In addition to Gerloff on the best Yamaha, Lucas Mahias was also very convincing with the sixth-best time on Friday afternoon, while local hero van der Mark did not get beyond P10. The man from Gouda, like Alex Lowes in ninth place, was just a little more than half a second short of Rea’s fastest time. The following are the times from FP2, which are irrelevant for the Superpole on Saturday morning, because only then will it be about the starting positions.

P, No, Rider, Bike, Time(,Gap), LL, km/h
1, 1, REA Jonathan, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’34.391, , 20, 286
2, 31, GERLOFF Garrett, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’34.512, 0.121, 19, 286
3, 19, BAUTISTA Alvaro, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’34.741, 0.350, 20, 291
4, 66, SYKES Tom, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’34.753, 0.362, 16, 286
5, 54, RAZGATLIOGLU Toprak, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’34.755, 0.364, 20, 286
6, 44, MAHIAS Lucas, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’34.771, 0.380, 14, 281
7, 45, REDDING Scott, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’34.917, 0.526, 20, 289 (third best of the day with 1’34.591 in FP1)
8, 21, RINALDI Michael Ruben, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’34.958, 0.567, 19, 288
9, 22, LOWES Alex, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’34.959, 0.568, 20, 288
10, 60, VAN DER MARK Michael, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’34.974, 0.583, 16, 285
11, 91, HASLAM Leon, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’34.976, 0.585, 17, 288
12, 55, LOCATELLI Andrea, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’35.081, 0.690, 22, 286
13, 94, FOLGER Jonas, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’35.343, 0.952, 17, 284
14, 7, DAVIES Chaz, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’35.503, 1.112, 17, 285
15, 47, BASSANI Axel, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’35.528, 1.137, 18, 285
16, 53, RABAT Tito, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’35.599, 1.208, 22, 290
17, 32, VINALES Isaac, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’35.945, 1.554, 16, 283
18, 36, MERCADO Leandro, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’36.397, 2.006, 20, 284
19, 3, NOZANE Kohta, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’36.405, 2.014, 16, 283
20, 9, MANTOVANI Andrea, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’37.210, 2.819, 20, 283
21, 84, CRESSON Loris, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’38.586, 4.195, 16, 274

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) was the fastest man on Friday and, above all, the one with an outstandingly strong pace over several laps, while World Championship leader Razgatlioglu did not achieve the best times.

The returnees and the new absentee

While MIE Honda had taken a break at the season opener after only one participation so far, Leandro Mercado is now back. The unfortunate Argentine was just as unlucky when he signed as Eugene Laverty, when he called, like the Northern Irishman, a team that actually has no place in a World Cup. While Eugene had to take a compulsory break after the dubious rejection of his team with a reason even more dubious than with Christophe Ponsson and his troops, Leandro was at least able to turn first laps again. The undisputedly fast man from Córdoba did quite well on the Honda CBR-1000RR-R SP Fireblade. On GRT Yamaha rider Kohta Nozane, Mercado lost less than half a second in FP1 and on the fastest Scott Redding it was only a little over two and a half. It is to be hoped that he will be able to experience a successful weekend on the TT Circuit and not be slowed down by technical problems like in Aragon. We do not want to participate in speculations about the possible return of Laverty and the timing, the same applies to the Gil Motorsport team from Ponsson. The fact that the 2013 Assen race winner Eugene Laverty is missing is the scandal of the weekend for us and absolutely shameful for his team.

Christophe Ponsson – here on the Alstare Yamaha, after a “restructuring” of the team (interestingly, Laverty’s team had exactly the same reason for the surprising withdrawal for Assen), they will probably compete again for Gil Motorsport, which should actually be the same team.

Before the Superpole and the first race on Saturday

While the two Yamaha riders Steven Odendaal and World Championship leader Dominique Aegerter are the top favourites at the WSSP, the situation in the WorldSBK is much less clear. After his so far rather modest results in Assen, the new leader in the World Championship since Donington Park is the biggest unknown. Toprak Razgatlioglu has never been better than 9th in Assen, while with Johnny Rea and Scott Redding in the Netherlands already have often been victorious. The reigning world champion is currently only missing one triumph in the Cathedral of Speed ​​to be the sole record holder, in front of Ducati WSBK legend Carl Fogarty. Both are currently with 12 wins each and the Englishman is only the jungle king, while the Northern Irishman with six world championship titles is likely to remain the best of all time throughout his life and even the existence of WorldSBK. Only two points separate Toprak from the Kawasaki ace and if it rains during the race, the Turk is considered to have no chance for a podium. The probability is at least around 90 percent on Sunday that it could get really wet.

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha, left) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) are only two points apart before the first race in Assen and are currently the two top favorites for the World Championship, while Vice World Champion Scott Redding (Ducati) is already 66 points behind the Turks. But the season is (hopefully) still long after the summer break.

TT Circuit of Assen

The subdivision of the four sectors is shown in black. The course has 12 right and 6 left turns and is 4.542 km long, with a start-finish straight that is only 300 m long.

Stand in the WorldSBK world championships after Round 4 in Donington Park

Stand in the WorldSSP 600 world championships after round 3 in Misano

WorldSBK Assen schedule

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).

>WSBK Assen Preview see separate report on this page.