Toprak Razgatlioglu after the negative climax of the WorldSBK weekend in the Netherlands in the gravel bed of the first corner, called Haarbocht – his first crash in a race this year after a collision with Garrett Gerloff on the inside.

Triple triumph for Jonathan Rea – the competition missed the boat

There were no four drivers at the start who actually would have liked to be there. With Lucas Mahias and Jonas Folger it was the two fall injured riders on Saturday and with Eugene Laverty and Christophe Ponsson the victims of two teams that actually do not belong in a World Cup. Although the reasons are completely different to you, the reason for their waiver was identical to “due to restructuring” on the word. That actually says it all, and there is hardly more to add, except for the remark that one has to be extremely sorry for the Northern Irish as the Assen winner in 2013. His compatriot, on the other hand, set a new record on Saturday.

Crew-Chief Pere Riba with his protégé Johnny Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) – the two experienced an absolutely perfect weekend and did everything right from the tire choice to the racing tactics and as a result they clinched their third overall victory in the fifth in the Netherlands after Aragon and Estoril World Cup round.

Jonathan Rea and his masterpiece and the hopelessness of Toprak
With 13 victories since Saturday in the first race in Assen, ahead of Carl Fogarty (12), he was not only the record winner on this track, but the only driver to date to have ever achieved such a number. With his hundred fifth triumph, he is now worlds ahead of former Ducati ace “King Carl”, but what was definitely more important to him was the fact that he beat Toprak and took the championship lead again. The Turk had already shown his nerve in the Superpole and after that, good luck that his team managed to get the bike back for a quick lap at the last minute. He rode well on Saturday and also in the sprint race on Sunday morning, but his pace was never enough to fight with a superior driving Rea at eye level. In principle, Razgatlioglu had no chance when attempting to harass the Northern Irish. Toprak already showed nerves in Superpole with a fall in the fifth minute, and on Sunday afternoon there was also bad luck.

The moment after the collision between Gerloff (front inside) and Toprak pulling in from the outside, who lost control of his Yamaha and then rolled over in the gravel bed. Rea, who is still on P5 here, can evade and loses a position in the process.

Jonathan Rea after his overall victory in Assen: It was nice to make three out of three here in Assen. We did it after changing the rear tire choice after day one. Because of the nightly rain, the track’s grip was a little less and the temperature maybe three or four degrees lower. We thought this would be the transition point for the SC0. It was nice to win with the soft tire option yesterday and the standard racing tire option today. It’s a massive testimony to the guys in the pit lane and what they did. We made a pretty big suspension change to the setup this weekend and that made it easier to ride. You could see that in my duels, I was able to place the bike where I wanted, and it was very agile, but also stable in the fast sections. I went over first this morning to see the flooding on the route. If you consider how much rain there was on Sunday night and at turn five there was even a small lake. Therefore, great respect for the helpers who had many machines there. Two fire engines, three tankers, and we were only 45 minutes late in the morning. You did an amazing job.

The triumphant and already 107-time winner in the Superbike World Championship – Jonathan Rea did everything right and now his challengers for the next races are facing a huge task if they want to put him under serious pressure(© Kawasaki Racing Team).

The championship leadership increased the pressure on the Yamaha hope
The joy increased not only in Germany, which was populated by many Turks, when Jonathan Rea lost the World Cup lead in Donington Park. With him, you often get the impression that most of them are happy when he has problems and not dominate in an almost terrifying way, as has so often been the case in the last 6 years. Even with the commentators outside of Great Britain, you can clearly feel how enthusiastic they are when the Northern Irishman is beaten or has to accept setbacks, like in the last race in England. With the pretext that at least the World Championship will be exciting again, some malicious joy is tried to hide it. Despite all the euphoria about Razgatlioglu’s strong performance in Donington, many overlooked the fact that he was never really able to convince in Assen. In addition, the Yamaha Hope still owes the proof of a consistent season to really be considered a candidate for the title. Now it looks as if the pressure from the World Cup leadership was too high and all of a sudden he is now 37 points short of the outstanding World Cup leader and three-time winner of Assen, who is already a 15-time winner, which has never before a rider managed before him.

The two chasers of the leader on the Kawasaki – Toprak Razgatlioglus (Yamaha) ahead of Scott Redding (Ducati) took the chance on Saturday with their bitter duel to close the gap to Jonathan Rea themselves.

The defeat’s defiant declaration of war
After his disastrous Sunday afternoon, an unspeakably disappointed Toprak spoke of simply wanting to win every race from now on. They are defiant words from an understandably disappointed young man who had high hopes of being able to seriously challenge the record world champion in the title fight. This is what Scott Redding sounded like last year, followed by his brand colleague Chaz Davies and others before him, but nobody has managed this since Rea has been riding for Kawasaki, until the last race of the season. But of course there are still many races to drive and if the world championship leader were to drive a BMW, one would have to fear that the defect devil might strike again soon. To hope for it would be very unsporting and, given the sensationally high reliability of his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, absolutely pointless. In order to beat him in the fight for the World Championship crown, you can hardly afford to make mistakes, and you have to be consistently at the forefront. In Assen, however, his pursuers usually took points away from each other, which is fine with the modest record champion.

Scott Redding (Ducati) ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha) – in Assen the Englishman was the better of the two and, with 45 points, clearly caught up with the Turks in the intermediate ranking.

The situation at BMW – the pace is improving, but far too many breakdowns

In Donington, the first podium confirmed that the progress made by the blue-whites had meanwhile become a fact. In addition to the violent fall of Jonas Folger, who is in a promising position, and the embarrassing absence of Eugene Laverty, there are other problems that should not be the case. If Tom Sykes completely misses Superpole due to technical problems and then has to start from the back of the field, it is more than embarrassing. However, BMW’s breakdown series in Assen began early in the morning in FP3, when his team-mate Michael van der Mark was unable to drive a timed lap due to technical problems. In his home race, of all things, this cost the Dutchman the chance for a top starting position in Superpole, which means he narrowly missed the podium in the first race. Of course, this anger continued on Saturday morning because the starting positions for the Superpole Race remained unchanged. Below is the result of the sprint race on Sunday, with only 3 championship points for Sykes in a BMW, while van der Mark was eliminated with a crash.

What are the reasons for the constant breakdowns at BMW?
You can choose, but we only see two options here. Either the new BMW M-1000RR and the model S-1000RR, which has been accompanied by many breakdowns, are of catastrophically poor quality, or the problem lies with the works team under the leadership of Marc Bongers on the part of BMW and Shaun Muir as team boss. If you look at how seldom, for example, Kawasaki struggles with technical problems, the blue-whites even advertise their extremely reliable competition to some extent with their commitment. At the same time, with their work, they are doing a form of negative advertising that cannot be desired. While they went to the racetracks far too late compared to the competition to advance the development of the completely new bike, they missed a successful start to the season.

Michael van Mark on the ground – his crash at Turn 12 meant the fourth of Saturday’s Superpole Race already on the first lap and a severe setback, before things went a little better again in the afternoon. Without the falls of Gerloff and Toprak, as well as the tire problems of Rinaldi, it would definitely have been tight for the top ten.

An obvious difference between BMW and the other competitors
If you compare the press releases from BMW with those of its competitors in WorldSBK, you immediately notice something that is fundamentally different from the others. With the German brand, the comments from Messrs. Bongers and Muir are always listed first, and only then do the riders’ statements come. Our assumption therefore: The fish stinks from the head at BMW, and it is more the team and not the material. Since so many breakdowns have accumulated in half a season that Kawasaki has not even had to complain about in several years, the team leadership is responsible for this.

Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda) ahead of Rinaldi and Lowes – after his two crashes in the first two races on Sunday afternoon, the Spaniard put in an excellent performance and finished in the top 5 and was ahead of Michael van der Mark’s best BMW.

Alvaro Bautista (HRC Honda): It was a challenging weekend for us with two crashes in the first two races, which honestly annoys me because I think our performance in these races could have been similar to the first two races. Now, if I try to ride more naturally, I’ll fall. Nevertheless, we ended the weekend with a positive result, a hard-fought top-5 position with some nice fights and I think that’s because of our work. Over the weekend we improved a lot on the electronics side, especially in the lower end of the power range, which now gives me more confidence. Maybe it’s not that obvious yet, but I hope it’s just a starting point for the races to come.

The result of race 2 on Sunday in Assen

Stand in the WSBK World Championship after Assen

The so-called wet races, which were started on a wet or at least damp track, are highlighted in light blue.

The still provisional calendar

The two rounds with a dark grey background below have been very questionable due to the pandemic since the FIM and Dorna plan was published for this year. For this reason, those responsible around the WSBK responsible Gregorio Lavilla are looking for additional possibilities to replace at least one or two of these events with races in Europe. At the moment, it is at least not clear or certain how many World Cup rounds there will be this season. In addition to the travel problem, the Mandalika Circuit is highly questionable, especially due to the unclear situation regarding the completion of the pit facilities and infrastructure. The next two tracks are completely new, and there the WorldSBK riders expect two very special layouts. Most is the most winding track and, according to the contract, stays on the calendar for 5 years and, according to some critics, Navarra is more like a go-kart track than a World Cup-worthy circuit.

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.

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