WSBK: Rea wins race one at Assen after Davies controversy
Jonathan Rea stretched his advantage in the World Superbike Championship with his tenth Assen victory in the Netherlands on Saturday.
Rea and Welshman Chaz Davies clashed in Superpole qualifying, with the Ducati rider blaming Rea for blocking him on a fast lap.
The two had words in a heated exchange in front of the TV cameras afterwards and Rea received a three-place grid penalty from Race Direction for an unsporting move.
They squared off again at the front in race one and Davies led for most of the way with Rea sitting in behind on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR. The Ulster rider bided his time before pouncing on the penultimate lap.
It seemed as though a last-lap battle was in store, but Davies was cruelly robbed of the chance when his Panigale developed a mechanical problem and his race was over.
Rea claimed his sixth win from seven starts this season, with team-mate Tom Sykes finishing second ahead of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Ducati), who was 17 seconds back.
Northern Ireland’s Eugene Laverty was eighth on the Milwaukee Aprilia.
Rea, who now leads Sykes by 59 points in the championship standings with Davies 75 points behind the two-time world champion, said: “That one was really nice because the more wins you get on a certain track the more pressure you feel to repeat it. I am not sure why I click so well with Assen but it seems to be working.
“It seems like our bike was working very well in the faster sections of the track, and Chaz was fast out of T5 in acceleration. I could maintain the lap time as we were to-ing and fro-ing at certain parts of the track, but I was strong in the back section, where it counts for passes.
“I had good pace at the end and I wanted to go through then and make a gap. But every time I put my nose in front there was a big block pass into the last corner,” he added.
“It was, honestly, very unfortunate for Chaz at the end and it is never a good way to lose points. But it was important for me that that bad luck happened to him when he was behind me because at that point of the race I was trying to make my rhythm and go away.”
Race two takes place on Sunday at 12pm BST.