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24 Juli 2021

Rea Wins From Pole Position

Jonathan Rea (KRT) won the opening race of the Assen FIM Superbike World Championship weekend after a three way fight for supremacy in the early laps. Alex Lowes (KRT) was competing in the top five until he fell at T5, losing his chance to challenge for a podium on the new Ninja ZX-10RR.

Rea’s latest WorldSBK win, the 105th of his career, was his 13th at Assen - a new record for the number of race victories from a single rider at any individual circuit. This was also his 90th race win for Kawasaki since he joined KRT in 2015.

The race was red flagged and halted on lap 19 of the scheduled 21, but Jonathan had already taken a three second lead by that stage and was under no close pressure from the two riders fighting it out for the final podium places.

Earlier in the day Rea had taken his fifth consecutive Tissot Superpole of the season. He had to make two attempts at securing the best lap time after finding a yellow flag at just the wrong moment while using his first qualifying tyre. Lowes was fifth after Superpole, meaning he launched from the second row of the Race One grid. 

In the dry conditions that have graced Assen all weekend so far, Rea crossed the line in the lead of Race One on every lap except one, as Toprak Razgatlioglu and Scott Redding pushed the pace alongside Jonathan to create a breakaway trio.

Jonathan used the all-new SCX front tyre option today and a development SCX rear tyre to best effect, conserving them well enough to manage his lead in the latter stages.

Alex was feeling good in the leading group in the first two laps until his slow speed fall, without injury, as he was holding fifth position. With a damaged handlebar he was unable to restart the race and now looks forward to more points scoring opportunities on the final day of competition at Assen.

On Sunday 25 July the ten-lap Tissot Superpole Race will precede the final full distance race of the weekend, to be held over 21-laps and started at 14.00 local time.

Jonathan Rea, stated: “I think we won that with perseverance; I just kept going. I could see on my pit board that the gap was fluctuating to Toprak and Scott. I knew that if I let those guys get in it would be very hard to get away. When I had a clear track I had to maximise it, make no mistakes and put in a little gap. But I had to keep doing that, never settling, because they were in their own battle and pushing hard. If I relaxed they were going to catch me. I had a good rhythm and the bike was on rails. I just ran into some vibration on the rear tyre at the end so instead of keeping pushing the tyre in the critical areas, like the  fast right handers, I conserved the tyre a little bit more. Even then the gap was still increasing. It’s a really nice feeling as a rider to have that. I am looking forward to tomorrow now. In Superpole, I had a feeling that my first fast lap might have been deleted because I did see a yellow flag. When I got back to the pit box I saw my time was still there, but, to save any confusion, I put in another Q tyre and went out straight away. I tried to avoid any traffic in the latter stages of the session and I had clear track but you are also nervous sitting in the box, watching everybody else go fast!”

Alex Lowes, stated: “I felt good on the bike and we had made a positive step in FP3 this morning. Superpole was quite close but I got a bit boxed in with Rinaldi and Redding at the start of the race. I got passed by Jonas Folger but I re-passed him. Then I just lost the front in T5, the really slow corner. I was trying to release the brake to make the turn and maybe - with the fuel load on the bike or something - I was on the limit of the front. It was a shame because it was such a small crash but the handlebar was damaged and I could not get back on the bike. A little mistake and the race was over. But I felt quite good on the bike which is the main thing and we have two more races tomorrow.”

Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) crashed out of tenth place on lap 14 and suffered a fractured left scaphoid. He will not race on Sunday at Assen.

Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) was 11th in Race One. Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) finished 13th and scored his first points of the year.

2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics

Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 13, Wins 6, Podiums 12, Superpoles 5
Career Race Wins: 105 (90 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 197 (155 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 32 (28 for Kawasaki)

Alex Lowes:
2021: Races: 13, Wins 0, Podiums 4, Superpoles 0
Career Race Wins: 2 (1 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 28 (8 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 1 (0 for Kawasaki)

8 x Riders’ Championships (Scott Russell 1993, Tom Sykes 2013, Rea 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020), 1 x EVO Riders’ Championship (David Salom 2014)
6 x Manufacturers’ Championships (Ninja ZX-10R 2015 & 2016, Ninja ZX-10RR 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
5 x Teams’ Championships (KRT/Provec Racing 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)

Kawasaki FIM Superbike World Championship Statistics
Total Kawasaki Race Wins: 164 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 470 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 97 – second overall