Rider voices after the fifth WorldSBK round in Assen
The weekend in the Netherlands was to the liking of Jonathan Rea, who had deservedly recaptured the world championship lead with a simply outstanding performance. Even if Toprak Razgatlioglu hadn’t lost control of his Yamaha after the collision with his brand colleague from Texas and might have been able to fight for a podium afterwards, he would hardly have beaten the Kawasaki rider. Above all, the Turk was also lucky with the weather, because rain was originally forecast for both races on Sunday. In such circumstances, he is generally considered to have no chance in terms of the fight for podium places. In the dry it was therefore enough for 3rd place on Sunday morning, just like the day before, when he had to admit defeat to Scott Redding as well as the reigning world champion. After 2 points ahead of Rea in front of Assen, the Yamaha Hope leaves the Netherlands 37 points behind. Below are some voices from the drivers after the weekend, those of the World Championship leader and Alvaro Bautista in our summary from Sunday on this page.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu (Yamaha): „Garrett made a terrible mistake in race two, I’m not sure why he braked so hard in the first corner – I was surprised and just angry because we lost so many points for the championship as a result. At the start, I overtook Rinaldi before Turn 1. After that, it wasn’t easy to brake my own bike. This was difficult, and so I can’t understand why Gerloff collided with me. In Most, I’ll just fight for victory, I’m no longer looking for championship points. Maybe I was just unlucky this weekend, but we’ll be fighting hard for the next race again.“
Andrea Locatelli (Yamaha): „I immediately forgot about the situation on Sunday morning because after that I had another chance to race. You always focus on getting the most out of it when you can. I’m very happy because we got the first podium, also in the race over the full distance, and it’s really a great feeling. In the short sprint race, you have to push hard, but it’s also a shame to have made the small mistake with the track limits. It was only a matter of a few millimetres. In race 2 I immediately took the lead and was able to maintain a good pace, but in the end I struggled a lot with the softer SCX rear tire. In the same conditions as on Sunday and the day before with a little sun, we were able to push in all sessions and I learned and improved every time. Now we’re faster, and I was at the front for the first time. We were among the best all weekend, and I’m also happy for my crew. We work very well together, they work hard, and we don’t make mistakes and the R1 works so well too. It was nice to race here in Assen, and we will have another chance very soon to keep going and try to get even more podiums.“
Tom Sykes (BMW): „I managed to start from the third row in race two, which was a lot better. From there, I got off to a good start into the race after the guys worked a bit on the BMW M-1000RR. We used the harder rear tire and I just couldn’t find enough grip with that at the start of the race. But the bike remained very consistent throughout the race. Unfortunately, I got a little off the line in the last corner before the last lap and lost the front. It was a really slow crash, but I couldn’t save it. I think it’s a shame, the bike was good enough for the top six today, and it would have been nice to have been consistent all weekend. It seemed like we made some good improvements for both myself and Michael. A disappointing end to the weekend. But we can take the positives with us and will focus on trying to build on that for the next round.“
Michael van der Mark (BMW): „The fall on Sunday morning was a stupid mistake on my part. I really wanted to try, and in the fastest corners of the track I tried to get even faster. This was clearly an unnecessary crash, and I felt sorry for the team. I got off to a good start in the second race. I was a bit lucky on Turn 1, starting from P11 and finishing fifth by the end of the first lap, but I didn’t have the pace or grip that I was hoping for. Most of the time it was too hard to keep the bike on track and I just couldn’t give any more, so it was pretty tough. But at the end of the race I found a bit more pace and managed to overtake and overtake Michael Ruben Rinaldi and Alex Lowes, so P6 is not that bad in the end. But I really wanted more.“
Leandro Mercado (MIE Honda): “I got off to a great start, used the contact between the other riders in the first corner and, I think, came in tenth place, which I was able to hold for a while. With fresh tires, I was able to stay in the group that we’re closest to in terms of performance. But when their grip starts to wear off, I have a hard time keeping up the pace, so I focused on the rhythm I could keep and tried to be as consistent as possible. This phase is all about finishing races, collecting data and further improving the setup. In fact, we drove with a slightly different set-up today than yesterday, and I have to say that the pace was a bit more consistent than in the first race. We still need to improve a few aspects of the bike setup, of course, but now we better understand where we are. From now on, we have to take further steps in the development to get closer to the other riders.“
Leon Haslam (HRC Honda): „In the Superpole race, I lost a lot of positions after a problem with another rider in the first corner. It was a difficult race, and we struggled with both the front of the bike and the power delivery. I got off to a good start in race two, but then Toprak crashed, and I had to dodge him, which made me lose ground again. In the first part of the race I had the feeling that I had a good rhythm anyway, but from around lap ten I lost a lot of time, more than a second per lap. Overall, it’s been a tough weekend, and I’m frustrated as I was expecting top five results on this track.“
Stand in the WorldSBK WM in Assen and a little outlook
With 8 wins in 15 races and, with only one exception, always on the podium, Jonathan Rea is once again a model of consistency. Toprak, on the other hand, was the closest pursuer and missed a podium for the fourth time this season due to his crash in the last race in Assen and won only three races, only one more than Scott Redding. He was second best in the Netherlands behind the World Cup leader and was able to reduce his deficit to the Turks to 44 points after 66 points ahead of Assen. Together with Raztaglioglu, he is the only one who can still calculate title chances, which, however, should be a mammoth task against the reigning world champion. This will be hard to beat, especially on well-known routes such as Barcelona, Jerez, Magny-Cours and Portimão, as the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR is significantly more powerful than the previous year’s model. And even with that he has been very successful on the courses mentioned so far, and Most and Navarra should also suit him.
The still provisional calendar
Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).