The return of what is affectionately known as ‘The Cathedral’ of motorcycle racing is an eagerly anticipated step for all inside the WorldSBK scene but for six-times World Champion Jonathan Rea it was, until very recently, his absolute best WorldSBK venue, in terms of race wins and other podium places combined.
Rea has scored 12 of his 104 career race wins in this category of racing at Assen, his first in 2010 and his most recent in 2018. Should Jonathan win even one race at Assen he would be the first rider in WorldSBK history to record 13 race wins at a single circuit. Currently Rea has 12 wins at Assen (and also Portimao) putting him on equal terms with four-time WorldSBK Champion Carl Fogarty’s dozen Assen wins before his retirement in 2000.
As Jonathan makes final preparations for his latest visit to the 4.542km long Assen circuit he is looking at regaining the championship lead he lost during the previous round at Donington. Only two points separate Toprak Razgatlioglu from Jonathan after four rounds of the championship after an exciting start to a season that is scheduled to run for 13 individual events and 39 separate points scoring races.
Jonathan has already taken the 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to 11 podiums in 12 races, a total which includes five race wins.
After scoring the most recent of his four 2021 season podium finishes at Donington last time out Lowes is currently fourth in the championship standings. He is all out to record more podium success at a circuit he has scored a pole position and one podium place at earlier in his career.
Like many British riders Lowes feels a special affection for Assen; partly due to experiences of racing there before he joined WorldSBK and partly as this was also the scene of his first ever WorldSBK podium success. His lone Superpole qualifying success also came at Assen, in 2018.
The WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 championships will rejoin the main WorldSBK class for the Dutch weekend after missing the previous Donington round. Another full weekend of action will follow soon after Assen, as a whole new WorldSBK host venue - Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic - will form the sixth round between 6-8 August.
Jonathan Rea, stated: “I am really happy to be returning to Assen after its absence last year. It is a really unique layout, a high speed circuit with fast corners and quick changes of direction. I never got to ride the ‘real’ old Assen but the modified version is, for me, incredible. One of the nicest and most flowing circuits on the calendar. I have great memories there and the fact that there will be lots of fans is a huge bonus because Assen and the fans go together perfectly! I had some nice battles there in 2019 and I am looking forward to more this year. I hope we can capitalise on it being a good circuit for me and the bike. The target is to win but we need to work smartly and calmly to put us in the best possible shape to compete come the races.”
Alex Lowes, stated: “Assen is a fantastic track and one of my favourites on the calendar. Speaking as a British bike racing fan, we’ve always had a close affiliation with the Dutch circuit. My first experiences of it were from my time in BSB. It is also a place I claimed my first WorldSBK podium at in 2014. As we didn’t race there last year this will be my first experience of Assen on the Ninja ZX-10RR. The target for this weekend is to fight for the podium - and have a lot of fun doing it with my ‘Team 22’ Kawasaki Racing Team crew.”
Lucas Mahias (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Isaac Vinales (Orelac Racing VerdNatura Kawasaki) are the top two Kawasaki Independent riders so far, with Mahias 14th and Vinales 19th overall. Loris Cresson (TPR Outdo Kawasaki) is looking to score his first WorldSBK championship points of the year at Assen.
2021 KRT Rider WorldSBK Statistics
Jonathan Rea: World Champion 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020
2021: Races 12, Wins 5, Podiums 11, Superpoles 4
Career Race Wins: 104 (89 for Kawasaki)
Career Podiums: 196 (154 for Kawasaki)
Career Poles: 31 (27 for Kawasaki)
2021: Races: 12, 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: 163 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Podiums: 469 – second overall
Total Kawasaki Poles: 96 – second overall