Assen WSBK: Van der Mark sets practice pace on home soil

Assen WSBK: Van der Mark sets practice pace on home soil
By: Lewis Duncan , Journalist
Apr 20, 2018, 3:19 PM

Home rider Michael van der Mark set the fastest overall time in Friday's three World Superbike practice sessions as Jonathan Rea topped both FP1 and FP2.

Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Jonathan Rea, Kawasaki Racing
Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Marco Melandri, Racing-Ducati SBK Team
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Racing-Ducati SBK Team

Jonathan Rea began his quest for a 12th Assen WSBK win by topping the opening 40-minute practice of the weekend, the championship leader guiding his Kawasaki to a 1m35.662s in the closing minutes.

Home hero van der Mark shadowed Rea with a 1m35.931, while Xavi Fores ended the morning as the top Ducati rider on his Barni-run Panigale in third spot, ahead of Tom Sykes.

The session was briefly red-flagged after a light fall for Aprilia's Lorenzo Savadori at Turn 8, though the Milwaukee team was able to get the Italian back out with over half of the session remaining to go 12th fastest.

Rea carried on his session-topping form in FP2, missing out on the existing outright lap record by just over a tenth of a second with a 1m33.630s, with teammate Sykes being only 0.078s slower in second.

Melandri – who was testing various aerodynamic updates in a bid to cure his stability issues - was third quickest in FP2, while his factory Ducati stablemate Chaz Davies was a somewhat more low-key 9th in the second session, having ended FP1 fifth.

Improvements were few and far between for much of the third session, though a frantic closing segment saw Rinaldi and van der Mark trade fastest laps, with the latter edging two tenths clear of the Italian rookie with a 1m35.156s.

Melandri also beat Rinaldi with his final attempt, while Rea ended the day fourth on the combined times as he failed to improve on his FP2 best.

Lowes completed the top five on the second Yamaha, jumping ahead of Sykes, who also didn't improve on his FP2 time on his Kawasaki.

Fores was shuffled to seventh at the end of the day ahead of Davies, Savadori and MV Agusta's Jordi Torres, who clung onto the final spot in Superpole 2 despite sitting in his garage for the closing stages of FP3.

The Ten Kate Honda team come into the Assen round a man down after Leon Camier was forced to sit out following his crash in Aragon last weekend.

The team's sole representative for their home round Jake Gagne was an encouraging 13th at the end of FP1, but suffered a monster highside crash at Turn 12 midway through FP2.

Passed fit prior to FP3, he opted to sit out the session.

Combined Friday times

1 netherlands Michael van der Mark  Yamaha 57 1'35.156  
2 italy Marco Melandri  Ducati 48 1'35.399 0.243
3 italy  Michael Ruben Rinaldi  Ducati 41 1'35.518 0.362
4 united_kingdom Jonathan Rea  Kawasaki 59 1'35.630 0.474
5 united_kingdom Alex Lowes  Yamaha 53 1'35.646 0.490
6 united_kingdom Tom Sykes  Kawasaki 49 1'35.708 0.552
7 spain Xavi Fores  Ducati 44 1'35.744 0.588
8 united_kingdom Chaz Davies  Ducati 51 1'35.782 0.626
9 italy Lorenzo Savadori  Aprilia 43 1'35.950 0.794
10 spain Jordi Torres  MV Agusta 42 1'36.002 0.846
11 france Loris Baz  BMW 52 1'36.031 0.875
12 turkey Toprak Razgatlioglu  Kawasaki 49 1'36.168 1.012
13 argentina Leandro Mercado  Kawasaki 40 1'36.316 1.160
14 united_states Patrick Jacobsen  Honda 38 1'36.433 1.277
15 italy Davide Giugliano  Aprilia 47 1'36.545 1.389
16 colombia Yonny Hernandez  Kawasaki 47 1'36.578 1.422
17 spain Roman Ramos  Kawasaki 47 1'37.038 1.882
18 united_states Jake Gagne  Honda 26 1'37.257 2.101
19 czech_republic Ondrej Jezek  Yamaha 34 1'37.717 2.561
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About this article

Series World Superbike
Event Assen
Location TT Circuit Assen
Drivers Michael van der Mark
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Author Lewis Duncan
Article type Practice report