SBK Assen: Guintoli And Rea Conquer The Conditions


Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathan Rea took a victory apiece after coping best with constantly changing conditions on Sunday at Assen. Both riders added to their already successful records at Assen but Tom Sykes left as happy as anyone after extending his championship lead to twelve points.

The reigning champion had reason to feel hard done by in the opening race though. On a drying track, Guintoli romped into a comfortable early lead while Sykes slipped to fourth behind Loris Baz and Jonathan Rea following an error at De Bult but once he had regained second, the Briton started to make inroads into Sylvain’s advantage.

Having once trailed by over four seconds, Sykes was within striking distance of the leading Aprilia but four laps from the finish, Geoff May’s EBR suffered an engine blow-up and with oil spilled, race direction wisely brought a halt to the race. With 75% race distance completed, Guintoli was declared the winner ahead of Sykes and Rea with Loris Baz just missing out on the podium in fourth. Toni Elias rode one his best World Superbike races to date to finish fifth ahead of Marco Melandri with British trio Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam and Alex Lowes next up.

The red flags also made an appearance in race two with torrential rain forcing race direction to stop the action on safety grounds. After a long delay while conditions improved, the race restarted as a ten lap dash and when Guintoli fell at the chicane, the path was clear for Rea to take his fifth World Superbike victory at Assen.

Alex Lowes produced a sensational ride to take second while several more experienced riders fell foul of the slippery circuit, including his teammate Eugene Laverty. Davide Giugliano completed the podium in third while Tom Sykes rode a sensible race to finish fourth after a huge moment for Marco Melandri at Ramshoek promoted him two laps from home. Leon Haslam also benefitted to take fifth with Melandri sixth ahead of Loris Baz and Chaz Davies while Sylvain Guintoli recovered from his early fall to finish ninth.