Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea celebrated his 200th series start in style after crossing the line by the narrowest of margins at Assen – just 0.025 seconds separated the Ulsterman and team-mate Tom Sykes as the reigning champions secured another double Dutch success.
Rea made a strong start, cutting through the field from ninth on the grid and taking the lead early on. However, the strong winds caused him to run wide, brining him back into the clutches of his team-mate Sykes.
Sykes continued to push hard, shadowing Rea, though never looking capable of passing him. However, he got superb drive through the final chicane, catching Rea and almost passing him on the drag to the line.
The win was Rea’s 11th at Assen since he started his WSBK career and his third double at this 4.542km circuit since he joined Kawasaki in 2015.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “It has been an incredible weekend of racing. I have been especially happy with Superpole yesterday because the lap I made then was maybe the best lap I have ever made on a bike. I am really proud of that. Of course the race wins were really nice to take away. Today was a race of two halves. In the first half I raced hard until I got a warning so in the second half I just managed things to try and be safe and bring her home. I had a little bit left at the end but the biggest problem was the wind today. I was pulling a gap but then I had a huge front slide in T11, and my foot came off the peg, at mid-race distance. I decided just to ride and save something for the last laps after that. I had a big wobble coming out of 11 again near the end and I then just tried to be clever in the last lap and cover the last corner. My line was probably not the fastest way around there but it covered any move up the inside and I made it to the line first.”
It was an important day of statistics for Rea, as he also secured his 45th WSBK career win and his 30th individual race win for Kawasaki.
In the championship Rea now leads by 64 points, from his team-mate Sykes, with Chaz Davies third on 111 points and second race faller Marco Melandri on 97.
The next races in the series will take place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of May, at the Imola circuit in Italy.