Appalling weather conditions at Assen – with extreme cold, snow and hailstorms – characterized the entire second day of the Dutch World SBK Round. After delaying the start, the Race Direction rightly decided for safety reasons to cancel the race. As a result, Dorna, in agreement with the various teams, opted to change tomorrow’s schedule. The new programme will now see two Superbike races, covering the full 21 laps, to be held at 11.00 and 14.00 CET, while the Superpole Race will be cancelled.
The starting grid for both races will be determined by today’s Superpole, which saw Álvaro Bautista of the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati team storm for the third time in a row. The 34-year-old Spanish rider had just moved into the lead of the timesheets ahead of home rider van der Mark (Yamaha) with a lap of 1’34.740, when an incident two minutes from the end of Superpole brought out the red flags, thus bringing an end to the session.
Team-mate Chaz Davies, on his flying lap, was on the other hand penalized by the interruption. The 32-year-old Welshman was improving through the sectors but unfortunately was unable to complete his best lap because of the red flags. As a result, Davies will start from the third row of the grid with a best time of 1’35.288.
Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #19) – 1st – 1’34.740
“Today I’m really happy because after the change we made yesterday, I again found a good feeling with the bike, even though the track was so cold this morning and this created a few problems for us. In Superpole we made a good step forward with the race tyres even though when I put the qualifying tyre on unfortunately I didn’t notice much of a difference. Luckily, when the red flags came out, I was able to hold onto my best time at the right moment! I’m sorry about the race today but the conditions were not the best and the risk was too high. Let’s see if we get better weather tomorrow, so we can do two attacking races starting from pole position!”
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati #7) – 7th – 1’35.288
“It’s obviously disappointing for the people who turned up today, but safety must always come first. Here in Assen, even with normal conditions, the left side of the tyre is always critical, and it wouldn’t have been safe to ride in these conditions, so they made the right decision to cancel today. The good thing is that we will have enough time tomorrow to fit in the two long races and hopefully give the Dutch fans a good show. I felt good in Superpole, even though I was obviously disappointed not to finish the lap, because in sector 1 we were going well. The sharp end of the third row is not the worst position I’ve been in, we are not making too many changes this weekend, we’ve got our base set-up so there is just fine-tuning to do and I feel we’re in a good position for the race.”