The first day of action of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen drew to a close with Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) responding to the challenge from the KRT duo of former Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and current Championship leader Jonathan Rea to top of the overall classification by a margin of 0.320s with a final, scintillating lap of 1'35.748.
With Sykes and Rea in second and third, respectively, Haslam rode his factory Aprilia RSV4 RF up to fourth place, edging out local star Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Superbike) by only 45 thousandths of a second while bettering his morning session's lap-time by a significant 1.3s.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) elevated himself to sixth, with the biggest improvement of the day coming from Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) who jumped from 16th after FP1 to seventh.
Reigning champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) lapped consistently to end the day eighth overall with Nico Terol (Althea Racing Ducati) and Xavi Fores (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) completing the top-10.
Good news coming from Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who quietly went about his business, understanding the new electronics and posting the tenth best time, making it five manufacturers inside the top ten, and giving MV Agusta their best Friday placing since they returned to WorldSBK last year.
WorldSBK Assen - Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 - Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team 1'35.748
2 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.320
3 - Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.442
Cluzel Heads WSS Field on Opening Day
As the opening day of World Supersport action drew to a close it was Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) who was sitting pretty atop the timesheets after two closely fought 45-minute free practice sessions. The Frenchman, who is keen to put the disappointment of the Thai and Aragon rounds, where he suffered technical problems while fighting for the lead of the race, finished comfortably ahead of his nearest rival, second place Kenan Sofuoglu.
Kyle Smith in fouth was having an encouraging first day with his Pata Honda World Supersport team entry until he crashed with twelve minutes to go. The Briton who has already been on the podium twice in his debut season in Supersport would eventually finish fifth just behind PJ Jacobsen (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) and the second MV Agusta Reparto Corse entry of Lorenzo Zanetti, who were third and fourth respectively.
Ratthapark Wilairot (CORE Motorsport Thailand) was sixth and another of the leading riders crash. For German rider Kevin Wahr in seventh, it was his best result of the year so far since switching from Yamaha to the SMS Honda team for a full 2015 season assault.
Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda), Marco Faccani (San Carlo Puccetti Racing) and Alex Baldolini (Race Department ATK#25) completed the top ten after an eventful FP2 saw many riders fall. The session was red flagged with twenty minutes remaining following Dominic Schmitter's crash. The Swiss rider dropping fluid from his Go Eleven Kawasaki. All riders escaped uninjured.
Qualifying for Sunday's fourth race of the year is set to take place tomorrow at 3:55pm local time, where from the list of current WSS riders only Kenan Sofuoglu has taken a Pole Position here, back in 2007 and 2010.
WSS Assen - Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2 1 - Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse 1'38.633
2 - Kenan Sofuoglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing +0.132
3 - PJ Jacobsen Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki +0.287