Rea vs Gerloff: Kawasaki take top honours as Day 1 at Assen turns fierce

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The 2021 WorldSBK Championship is well underway, and it was close in the WorldSBK class at the TT Circuit Assen for round five of the Championship during the Dutch Round.

Some 13 riders were covered by less than a second, with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) leading the way on combined times ahead of Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), whilst Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) was third, having led the way in FP1.

It was a strong day for parity across the manufacturers, with all five brands inside the top five places come the chequered flag.

It was a solid first day for Jonathan Rea, as the Ulsterman enjoyed a strong afternoon session after finishing second in the morning. Despite a major moment with around 20 minutes to go in FP2 coming into the final chicane, he finished in first in the afternoon, thus placing him top overall.

Teammate Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) didn’t have the sharpest of mornings in the Netherlands as he was only 12th but was back inside the top ten in ninth overall and did a 13-lap run, gathering data for the weekend ahead.

Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK ends Day 1 in sixth placejpg

Top Yamaha honours went to Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team), as he celebrated his Yamaha contract extension with P2 on day one, with Gerloff trading times for top spot with Rea throughout the session.

Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) had a busy day where he was inside the top six but didn’t feature inside the top three too much, as he adapts to Assen aboard the Yamaha.

In the end, Razgatlioglu ended the session in fifth and was sixth overall, whilst teammate Andrea Locatelli had a more than dignified first WorldSBK appearance at Assen and was a firm fixture inside the top ten for the majority of the session.

The Italian finished the day in 13th overall, although his position perhaps is not indicative of the potential he has.

Bouncing back and shining bright, Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) was fastest in FP1 and was in contention throughout the afternoon as he worked on race pace. Although he didn’t feature inside the top six in the afternoon and was relying on his morning time, he was third overall.

WorldSBK at TT Circuit Assen - Friday

1. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK1’34.391s
2. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.121s
3. Scott Redding ( Racing – Ducati) +0.200s
4. Alvaro Bautista (Team HRC) +0.350s
5. Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.362s

6. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK+0.364s
Local hero Michael van der Mark BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team was 11th overall less than six tenths off top spotjpg