WorldSBK in Assen photographed by us on Saturday in April 2018 – with wonderful spring temperatures and a wonderful atmosphere, Jonathan Rea won his twelfth and so far last time at the Circuit van Drenthe in the afternoon.

Will the revenge for Rea come in the “Cathedral of Speed”?

It has been three years since the best Superbike rider of all time won the last time in Assen. One season later, the last edition so far took place and Alvaro Bautista was vastly superior with the MotoGP replica from Ducati. Despite the newly introduced Superpole Race, only two races over the full distance took place in 2019 because it was cancelled on Saturday due to snowfall. Therefore, the sprint race was sacrificed and on Sunday there were two runs of 21 laps each instead of just ten. Bautista set a record lap with 1’34.564 minutes, while Jonathan Rea’s absolute lap record of 1’33.505 dates back to 2017 and could fall this year. On the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR, the six-time record world champion is one of the top favourites. For him, this applies regardless of the weather, while the current World Cup leader Toprak Razgatlioglu should only have a chance in dry conditions. His best mark is 9th place in Assen, at that time still on Kawasaki, and therefore the Turk is only one of the favourites here.

WorldSBK 2019 photographed by us in Assen in picture-perfect weather – the day before it had still snowed, but despite the cold, the spectators came in droves, which is also expected for the next edition in the second Corona year, as guests are tolerated almost without restriction.

The hour of probation for BMW and a compulsory exercise for Ducati

After the surprisingly strong result of the two BMW works drivers, the hour of probation will follow in the Netherlands on the penultimate weekend in July. To a certain extent, almost everything went well for Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark in Donington, and they also benefited from the mistakes and problems of others. Without Rea and Redding’s bad starting position in the last race, there would hardly have been enough for a podium for the longest serving BMW driver. This is exactly why Ducati has to improve enormously in Assen, also because its drivers have been able to convince there in the past. Above all, Scott Redding as a double winner in the BSB and Chaz Davies as one of the most successful drivers of the last 5 events of the WSBK in Assen. But Misano overall winner Michael Ruben Rinaldi is also up for grabs, and the Italian finally has to show top results on another route.

“Magic Michael” van der Mark photographed by us in April 2019 with a young fan – even with the BMW, he is definitely one of the podium candidates in front of a full house in his home country, after having made it a total of seven times on Honda and Yamaha from 2015 onwards.

The co-favourites along with the 12-time record winner Johnny Rea

According to their results in England, local hero Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes on the new BMW M-1000RR should definitely be included. In addition to the three Ducati spearheads Redding, Rinaldi and Davies, you also have to have Alex Lowes on your radar. Kawasaki Ass Rea’s team-mate has generally shown impeccable performances except for two falls this season. He is currently only three points behind Redding in fourth place in the World Championship, and his points average in Assen is even better than that of Toprak. In his current top form, the world championship leader is of course one of the clear podium candidates for the races in Assen. Just like his Yamaha brand colleague Garrett Gerloff, who recently got to know the track in MotoGP as a Morbido replacement, which will definitely be helpful for the Texan, as he has never competed there before. The two HRC Honda riders should also be counted among the wider circle of favourites, especially because Alvaro Bautista has won both of the WSBK races so far in the Cathedral of Speed. His team-mate Leon Haslam has a good Assen record and narrowly missed the podium in the fourth round of the World Cup in Donington.

Photographed by us after the start at the exit of Strubben (curve 5) 2019 after the start – Leader Rea (Kawasaki) in front of Bautista (Ducati), van der Mark, Lowes (both Yamaha) and in green Haslam (Kawasaki) in front of Davies ( Ducati) and Reiterberger on the BMW.

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.

The statistics of the last 5 events and all WSBK winners from 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 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).