Rea leads van der Mark in chilly Assen FP1

Jonathan Rea has topped the opening practice at Assen in very cold conditions ahead of local star Michael van der Mark

Full FP1 times at Assen WorldSBK

Jonathan Rea has topped the opening practice at Assen in very cold conditions ahead of local star Michael van der Mark with runaway World Superbike championship leader Alvaro Bautista down in fourth place.

With track temperatures peaking at just 10 degrees during FP1, while an early red flag was triggered by a hare getting loose on track, Rea demonstrated his impressive pace at the Dutch circuit by dominating the early times before ending with a 1m 35.598s to claim top spot by almost two-tenths of a second ahead of home favourite van der Mark on the Pata Yamaha.

Tom Sykes also continued to impress on the BMW, equipped with an upgraded engine since the last round at Aragon, as the British rider slotted into third place ahead of Racing Ducati’s Bautista.

The Spanish rider, along with his fellow Ducati rivals, heads into Assen with a 250RPM drop following technical changes from World Superbike organisers in a bid to restore manufacturer performance balance.

Bautista has won all nine races at the start of 2019 but could only manage fourth place on the times with factory Ducati team-mate Chaz Davies within one-tenth of a second in fifth. Markus Reiterberger followed Sykes’s charge on the BMW to rise up to sixth place late on ahead of Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam.

Toprak Razgatlioglu demonstrated his fast-lap pace late on to jump to eighth spot for Puccetti Kawasaki to push Alex Lowes down to ninth place after the Pata Yamaha rider missed the second half of the session following a high-speed crash at Turn 9.



Jordi Torres nipped into the top 10 for Pedercini Kawasaki ahead of the struggling Marco Meldandri on the GRT Yamaha. Leon Camier recovered from a late off from his Moriwaki-Althea Honda at Turn 5 to end the session 12th fastest ahead of Team Go Eleven Ducati’s Eugene Laverty and Ryuichi Kiyonari on the second factory Honda.

GRT Yamaha’s Sandro Cortese also had a timid start to his Assen weekend down in 15th place but ahead of Orelac Kawasaki stand-in Hector Barbera who replaces the injured Leandro Mercado.

Michael Ruben Rinadli (Barni Ducati) and Alessandro Delbianco (Althea Honda) rounded out the FP1 times.

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