WSBK: Jonathan Rea denied record 13th Assen victory by team-mate Tom Sykes
Jonathan Rea's long winning streak at Assen was finally halted on Sunday as his Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes clinched his first World Superbike victory of the season.
Rea equalled Carl Fogarty’s record of 12 victories at the Dutch circuit on Saturday and had the chance to surpass the Blackburn Bullet’s tally in race two, but his third row grid start left him with too much ground to make up as Sykes powered into an unassailable lead from the front row.
However, reigning champion Rea has now increased his title lead to 30 points after the first four rounds of the championship and is right on track to secure a record fourth crown in 2018.
The 31-year-old won eight races in a row at Assen stretching back to 2014, but his bid for an incredible fourth successive double fell narrowly short as he was forced to settle for the runner-up spot on Sunday.
Rea had to fend off another determined charge from hometown favourite Michael van der Mark, who completed the top three on the PATA Yamaha.
The Northern Ireland rider’s nearest championship challenger, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Ducati), lost more ground in the points standings as he crossed the line in a lonely fifth place behind Xavi Fores on the Barni Racing Ducati, 18.9 seconds down on race winner Sykes.
Spain’s Jordi Torres completed the first six on the MV Agusta followed by Ducati’s Marco Melandri and former MotoGP rider Loris Baz (Althea BMW).
Britain’s Alex Lowes finished inside the points in 14th after crashing out in the race on the PATA Yamaha before returning to the track.
In the World Supersport race, Carrickfergus rider Andrew Irwin secured his maiden points as he rode a solid race to seal 12th place on the CIA Landlord Insurance Honda.
Round five of the championship will take place at Imola in Italy from May 11-13.