Scott Redding in the Ducati Box – finally, after numerous problems since the beginning of the season, the Englishman was back at the front again, even if only after the first free practice session. But at least he and his brand colleagues showed the expected good performance right from the start (see also our preliminary report on this page).

The optimism for an unlimited audience was too early

Some portals claimed much too early a while ago that WorldSBK would be hosting a full house on the penultimate weekend in July, like in the Netherlands. However, the premature euphoria regarding unlimited audience numbers was absolutely out of place. A few weeks before the WSBK round in Assen, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized to the population for a misjudgment, as a result of which the lockdown was lifted far too early. In the meantime, disillusionment has returned and clubs were immediately closed again and major events without permanent seats cancelled. Fortunately for the organizers of the “Cathedral of Speed”, they can keep a safe distance, otherwise spectators would not have been allowed to attend their event. But as expected, the event does not take place in front of a full house. With a maximum of 35 thousand visitors, you still got away with a black eye. The incidence values ​​in Spain and the Netherlands rose threateningly, and both countries are likely to be high-risk areas in the near future. All of this was to be expected, but selfishness and tourism had obviously been more important for the past few months.

Assen 1963 with the 125 cc Grand Prix and Hugh Anderson on Suzuki as leader, in the picture and at the end of his pursuers his teammate Ernst Degner with the number 1 in front of an impressive crowd. For more about such riders and the earlier years of motorcycle racing, see our richly illustrated history.

The risky “strategy” of Spain and Austria
Meanwhile, classified by Germany as a risk area, tens of thousands of holidaymakers still travel to Spain and especially to Catalonia. Because shortly before the elections the government of the Federal Republic of Germany is very tired of losing voters, it would rather risk more lives than take resolute action. It looks similarly stupid in Austria, where Spielberg’s MotoGP double race is currently being planned in front of a full house. As if there wasn’t a pandemic, it’s obviously all about the money and of course the economic losses would be enormous for tourism and organizers without this event. However, risking life for it is simply irresponsible. In the country that got negative headlines for the Ischgl scandal the winter before last, this is particularly reprehensible. Everything indicates that the Alpine republic, shaken by corruption and political arbitrariness, has learned absolutely nothing from its mistakes. At the moment, it still looks as if neither the Iberians nor the Austrians know of any obstacles, as long as the budget is right.

View of the first corner from the Haarbocht Lounge in Assen – a pleasure that is unfortunately only offered to spectators for MotoGP, and of course at a high price. For the WorldSBK we had to do without this great view in 2019, it was also bitterly cold in mid-April and the first rain on Saturday had to be postponed to the following day due to snowfall, which is why the Superpole Race was waived.

Germany, too, is running into the catastrophe with open eyes
Not only Spain and Austria, but many holiday countries and also Germany are currently running into doom with open eyes. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the ruling politicians are only concerned with minimizing the damage to voters’ votes before the upcoming elections. Therefore, there are already clear statements that a further lockdown should be dispensed with. No matter how many human lives it may cost, the country of holidaymakers is currently not even slowing down trips to Spain despite the very high incidence. Half of these numbers were recently locked down in their own country. Holiday-hungry people are now allowed to enter and leave without protecting them and, above all, those who come into contact with them later. In Spain, as of July 13, 2021, the so-called seven-day incidence is approaching the unbelievably high value of 600. Nevertheless, holidaymakers arrive from all countries and there are no signs of government intervention. As in Austria, it is more important for politicians in Germany to maintain their own power than to save human lives, then that’s how it should be. At the moment, the only thing that seems to be a matter of inventing a justification for preventing further lockdowns. But at least the Dutch are clearly more intelligent and recognize the limits of reason.

Carl “Foggy” Fogarty and the falling Frankie Chili (both Ducati) at the WSBK event in 1998 in Assen in the second race – the Englishman currently holds the record with 12 wins each together with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) on the so-called TT Circuit. The Northern Irishman now has the chance to take sole leadership this weekend.

The first free practice on Friday – Redding ahead of Rea & Toprak only on P5

It was to be expected that Scott Redding would again do a great job with the Ducati on the track, where he last won a one-two in the BSB 2019. With the new Kawasaki ZX-10RR, it was to be expected that, unlike two years ago, Jonathan Rea should again have a chance to win against the lightning-fast Panigale V4R. The question mark this time, however, is the local hero and Toprak Razgaztlioglu. In our preliminary report, we had already pointed out that the new World Championship leader had never made it better than 9th in the “Cathedral of Speed”. Quite different is “Magic Michael” van der Mark, who even finished ahead of Jonathan Rea in the last edition. At that time, however, on the Yamaha and now, after the first BMW podium in Donington Park, confirmation has to follow that the blue-whites can now permanently compete at the front. However, we are aware, in contrast to most of the writers on various portals, that the first three free trainings have little meaningfulness about the real strength. In contrast to MotoGP, in WorldSBK it is known that the starting grid is only about the starting grid on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in Superpole. Below is the result of the first free training of the WSBK von Assen.

P, No, Rider, Bike, Time(,Gap), LL, km/h
1, 45, REDDING Scott, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’34.591, , 23, 290
2, 1, REA Jonathan, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’34.669, 0.078, 16, 286
3, 7, DAVIES Chaz, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’34.971, 0.380, 19, 287
4, 21, RINALDI Michael Ruben, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’35.019, 0.428, 18, 290
5, 54, RAZGATLIOGLU Toprak, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’35.050, 0.459, 17, 287
6, 66, SYKES Tom, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’35.117, 0.526, 17, 286
7, 31, GERLOFF Garrett, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’35.150, 0.559, 20, 287
8, 91, HASLAM Leon, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’35.173, 0.582, 16, 286
9, 44, MAHIAS Lucas, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’35.279, 0.688, 15, 285
10, 55, LOCATELLI Andrea, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’35.316, 0.725, 20, 287
11, 60, VAN DER MARK Michael, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’35.320, 0.729, 19, 286
12, 22, LOWES Alex, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’35.467, 0.876, 19, 290
13, 94, FOLGER Jonas, BMW M 1000 RR, 1’35.530, 0.939, 19, 286
14, 53, RABAT Tito, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’35.681, 1.090, 19, 287
15, 19, BAUTISTA Alvaro, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’36.024, 1.433, 16, 292
16, 32, VINALES Isaac, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’36.135, 1.544, 19, 281
17, 47, BASSANI Axel, Ducati Panigale V4 R, 1’36.359, 1.768, 18, 287
18, 3, NOZANE Kohta, Yamaha YZF R1, 1’36.652, 2.061, 20, 284
19, 36, MERCADO Leandro, Honda CBR1000 RR-R, 1’37.113, 2.522, 19, 281
20, 9, MANTOVANI Andrea, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’37.146, 2.555, 23, 280
21, 84, CRESSON Loris, Kawasaki ZX-10RR, 1’38.995, 4.404, 19, 278

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

Due to the Olympics, Eurosport completely refrains from broadcasting, this station always behaves in a more unfamiliar manner to Motosport.

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

>WSBK Assen Preview see separate report on this page.