Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) as a leader in the race shortly after the point where he had to dodge into the grass after his almost fall on Saturday afternoon and was able to save himself sensationally from failure. One day later, Turn 8 turned out less lightly, although he was able to continue afterwards.

Big setback for Jonathan Rea – will he already strike back in Assen?

Just like the rest of the visitors, we almost caught our breath when the world championship leader hit a bump in turn 8 of all places and his front wheel lost traction as a result. A lap before that, he had recaptured the lead over Toprak surprisingly early at this point. But now he fell for the first time in what felt like an eternity and this time without any outside influence, as at least before our chase before our eyes at the season opener in Phillip Island in 2020 after a bump from Sykes. At that time, he had been knocked off the track by his former team-mate in Australia and had to try to fight his way back from far behind, which resulted in a fall during an overtaking manoeuvre. But in Donington Park everything was very different and the Northern Irishman was out and about with a ninety percent probability of rain in dry conditions despite an erroneous forecast by the weather frogs.

Jonathan Rea photographed by us in the icy cold in April 2019 in the Assen paddock – Kawasaki’s figurehead had to survive what was perhaps the most difficult phase of his career when he always crossed the finish line behind Alvaro Bautista in the first 11 races of the year. But he was patient and from Imola came the hoped-for victories, while the Spaniard began to string mistakes after mistakes.

How long can Razgatlioglu defend his second world championship lead of his career?
During the usual campfire talks on site in England, sceptics said that it would take exactly until the first race in Assen, but not a bit longer. The fact is that Toprak has never come out of 9th place in the “Cathedral of Speed”. Rea, on the other hand, has already won twelve times in Assen and thus just as often as the former WSBK icon Carl Fogarty. For the sole record, exactly one race win is still missing and this could become a fact on the penultimate weekend in July, if the racing gods mean it this time only halfway well with the 6-time world champion. Both BMW and the new world championship leader have to fear a lot of pressure not only from the Kawasaki ace, but from a whole range of strong drivers, which could make the task for the six-time world champion easier. He has held the all-time lap record in Assen since 2017, which is why a fifth pole position in a row would not be a surprise for him. When it rains, Razgatlioglu is also considered to have no chance by experts, but even in the dry the Turks will definitely have a hard time defending the World Cup lead. It is therefore possible that our British friends will be right with their prognosis.

A sceptical look from Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) before the start – the Frenchman showed an excellent performance and left several factory drivers behind. With just two days of testing before the start of the season, he has so far been convincing across the board (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team):A really bittersweet day. The Superpole race in mixed conditions was already very stressful on the grid because we saw that some guys had chosen a rain tire, but the intermediate seemed to be the right choice for us. But if I had to do the race again, I would have relied on slicks. I built up a nice lead and was able to keep the gap of 2.5 seconds to the end. In race two, we changed the bike a lot compared to Saturday because I had to struggle a lot with a lack of grip and the bike didn’t turn as well. We fixed that in the morning warm-up for the second race. When Toprak passed me and I missed the chicane, I quickly won the time that I had lost there against him. I just kept my powder dry, then he made a mistake in Coppice and I overtook him. I just bowed my head because I had the rhythm, the bike setup and a good feeling. But the next time I got to Coppice, I got caught a little on one of the bumps. The front wheel became light and when I turned I lost the front. I’m frustrated with myself, but I felt a lot more positive than I did on Saturday because I felt like I didn’t have the tools to fight back then. I believed it was my race, but I made a stupid mistake. We just have to take advantage of every opportunity that comes up now.

A thoughtful look from Jonathan Rea before the start – the conditions were extremely difficult and when it rained he was considered a big favourite anyway, but the prognoses did not come true and in the end he made one of the very atypical mistakes that narrowly made him the World Cup. Leadership should cost (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team): Sunday was a tough day that I expected to be really strong. In the mixed conditions, I was honestly strong and felt excellent on the bike for the Superpole race. We had some experience from Aragon with the intermediate tires. I thought there was a good chance on the grid. The fall was completely my fault, but there were lots of wet spots in the old hairpin on the outside of the track. I was aware of this, so I tried not to get on the wet spots. I got onto the white line on the inside. I only barely touched it and still it was enough to fall. It’s a shame because I could have done a good race with my pace. After the podium on Saturday, it would have been important too. In the last race, I don’t know exactly what happened. After starting tenth, I was able to make up a few places in the first corner, but I was clearly slower than expected. I was quick in every dry session, but I had problems in the race. I don’t really know why. When I look at today it was disappointing, but when I look at the weekend, my first time here on the Kawasaki, I won some points in third in the championship. That’s the positive side.

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki ZX-10RR) before the start – like his team-mate Johnny Rea, he had to cope with a setback on the Donington weekend when, after his podium on the following Saturday in the Superpole Race, he missed his chance of another top result with a crash. In the afternoon, however, he was again a good sixth and on the World Cup third Redding he is only 3 points short (© Kawasaki Racing Team).

The statistics of the last 5 events in Assen

A total of seven active riders were more successful than Toprak in Assen in WorldSBK, plus Scott Redding as a double winner in 2019 in the BSB on Ducati.

Stand in the WorldSBK World Championship after Round 4 in England

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