Superbikes - WSBK: Guintoli takes race one spoils ahead of Sykes

Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli took the victory in the first World Superbike race at Assen.

Superbikes - WSBK: Guintoli takes race one spoils ahead of Sykes

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Assen WSBK: Guintoli takes race one spoils ahead of Sykes, Rea

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was closing the gap on the Frenchman in second place, and looked like he was on course to make a move to go into the lead - but a red flag brought an abrupt end to the proceedings, allowing Guintoli to take the spoils, with Pata Honda’s Jonathan Rea completing the rostrum.

Guintoli got the hole-shot followed by Rea and Sykes, and the French rider managed to get a great start and a comfortable lead. Earlier rain showers meant some parts of the track were still damp, but there was a dry line, and Ducati’s Davide Giugliano became the first victim of the tricky track conditions and crashed on the second lap at Meeuwenmeer.

Sykes made his move to go second on lap two and cleanly passed Rea. But with nineteen laps remaining the Huddersfield rider went wide at De Bult leaving Rea to go back into second, and had to rejoin the race in fourth behind team-mate Baz.

Voltcom Suzuki’s Alex Lowes made up for a bad start and after three laps decided to make his move on the top five, first he had Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam in his sights, followed by Niccolo Canepa and Ducati’s Chaz Davies to go seventh.

But on the sixth rotation while in eighth Voltcom Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty took a tumble, but was unhurt at De Bult putting a premature end to his race one ambitions.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack Guintoli extended his lead even further by lap six by three seconds. Baz then made a move on Rea to go into second behinds the Aprilia. Elsewhere Sykes hadn’t given up on his podium hopes, and moved back in to third, demoting Rea back to fourth, then on turn one on lap eight Rea re-took third from his fellow Brit.

In the mid pack the formation kept changing from fifth to tenth. Davies moved forward to sixth just behind Aprilia’s Marco Melandri. Haslam was able to find some race-pace to go eighth. But Lowes went from sixth and fell back to tenth, just infront of BMW Italia’s Evo rider – Leon Camier, with eleven laps remaining.

Sykes was on a roll and on lap fifteen went in to second and began to close the gap on Guintoli – reducing his lead from three to 1.5 seconds.

But as soon as the battle’s started to hot up around the TT circuit the red flag appeared after Jeff May’s bike decided to go boom on the circuit, spilling oil everywhere, and as there was only five laps remaining the race result was declared with Guintoli as the victor.

Further down the field just before the red flag - Davies was involved in a scrap with his former BMW team-mate Melandri for sixth place just behind the Red Devils Roma rider Toni Elias. Melandri seemed to have the edge on lap sixteen to hold Davies at bay, followed by Haslam and Lowes, in eighth and ninth respectively.

Althea Racing’s Niccolo Canepa rounded out the top ten and was the leading Evo bike. Camier ended the morning inside the points in thirteenth.

Alstare’s Christian Iddon was having a solid race, but crashed at Meeuwenmeer While in eleventh, but even if the Stockport rider did stay on his bike he wouldn’t have been able to score any points because his Bimota BB3 is not yet homologated for competition.

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