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#DutchWorldSBK: Lowes leads the rush to Tissot-Superpole at Assen

Assen WSBK_041516

After a weather forecast that seemed to hint Day 1 in Assen may be hit by the first real wet weather of the season, FP1 at the TT Circuit Assen got underway with rain falling and a wet track under grey skies. With the forecast for the rest of the weekend still unsure, the usual lack of track action in wet conditions was replaced by a good amount of activity on the circuit and riders were keen to begin working on a wet setup should it be needed for either of the WorldSBK races this weekend.

Riders were initially tentative in testing out conditions around the Circuit van Drenthe, with MV Agusta rider Leon Camier and Kawasaki rider Jonathan Rea proving the first pacesetters, and small crashes and incidents characterized the session as the riders sought the limit.

Karel Abraham, Markus Reiterberger, Michael van der Mark and Chaz Davies were all among those who crashed during the session, with the Welshman taking a tumble in the dying minutes. Nicky Hayden also had a run off track when the Kentucky rider found the limit, but stayed on the bike and got back on track quickly.

Rea spent most of the session with a clear advantage of over a second and a half, before other riders began to push and improve their laps to hunt down the Champion’s time. Teammate Tom Sykes eventually took top honours, going fastest by 0.748 from Rea, followed by the Yamaha pairing of Guintoli and Lowes.

Conditions didn’t improve in the afternoon, with Alex Lowes topping the timesheets from FP1’s fastest man Tom Sykes. Lowes’ Yamaha teammate Sylvain Guintoli was third quickest, as the Pata Yamaha duo again put in a strong performance after a strong FP1 from the Crescent squad.

Barni Racing’s Xavi Forés was the fastest Ducati in fourth, ahead of the ever-improving Nicky Hayden onboard his Hodna Fireblade. Reigning Champion Jonathan Rea ended the day in sixth after a technical problem at the final turn in FP2, ahead of Davide Giugliano on his Ducati and Lorenzo Savadori, who put in a late charge to gain access to Tissot-Superpole 2 on his Aprilia.

Home hero Michael van der Mark kept cool under pressure and went straight through to Superpole 2 in difficult conditions, in P9, just ahead of Aragón’s double winner and Championship P2 man Chaz Davies on the second Ducati. Leon Camier took MV Agusta to 11th just outside the top ten after a great FP1, and Matthieu Lussiana was the fastest BMW rider in 14th.

WorldSBK is back on track tomorrow at 8:45am local time (GMT +2) for FP3, before Tissot-Superpole gets underway at 10:30. Keep up to date with everything on and make sure to follow WorldSBK on social media.

For full results from Day 1 at Assen, click here
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