Sykes keeps control
Although they were held in difficult weather conditions, the two races of the Dutch World Superbike leg were less harmful to the Kawasaki riders than the previous leg in Spain. Sykes still made it to the podium while Baz bagged the points he needed to stay in the top three in the championship.
After a cautious start, Tom Sykes might have won the first race if his attempt had not been cut short due to a trace of oil left on the track by a competitor. “I was closing in on Guintoli at the time but he was riding very fast and it is not certain I could have overtaken him,” said the championship leader humbly. “The second race was held on a wet track and unfortunately we didn’t have the best settings. Finishing fourth in those conditions is not such a bad result. I’m even fairly pleased with the outcome of the weekend.” After clocking the best time during the free practice sessions, Loris Baz hoped for better on the Dutch circuit. Fourth in the first race, he finished seventh in the second. “I had a few scares in the early laps because the track was a little wet,” said the Frenchman. “But I could have finished on the podium if there hadn’t been that red flag, because I was closing in on Rea fast when the race was stopped. The second was much more difficult, however, because I lacked a lot of grip.” A problem which was affected David Salom, who finished twelfth and fifteenth in the two legs. In Supersport, Sofugolu was forced to retire in the thirteenth lap because of a technical problem, when the podium seemed easily within his reach.
Although he shone less brightly than in Aragon, Tom Sykes has nevertheless kept control of the Superbike Championship. The Kawasaki rider now has one hundred and eight points with Guintoli in second place, while Loris Baz has moved into third position with ninety-three points on the counter. David Salom lost the top spot in the Evo classification, but the Spaniard is only one small point behind the leader. Finally in the Supersport category, Sofugolu is not doing very well with his second DNF in three races. The Turkish rider has slipped to seventh place overall.
“I had a great feeling from the beginning of the weekend and everything went according to plan.” That’s how Loris Baz explained the great time of 1’34” 357 he clocked in on Saturday, April 26, allowed him to win the first Superpole of his Superbike career. At the same time, the Kawasaki rider improved the track record for the Assen circuit, leaving his heir Sylvain Guintoli 0″488 in his wake. Despite being the specialist in the exercise, Tom Sykes meanwhile conceded nearly a whole second to his young teammate. “In the morning the race simulation was good, but I was two-tenths of a second too slow,” said Baz. ”We caught them up before the qualifying session. Before attacking the Superpole, I felt really relaxed, which is also the key to the exercise. I felt that it might rain, so I gave it everything I had. The lap time came quite easily, all by itself. But it’s also the result of the work we’ve done since the beginning of the year to adapt the bike to my style of riding, and then my two podiums in Aragon gave me the confidence without which nothing is possible in bike racing.”