Opening day of 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship at chilly TT Circuit Assen Netherlands

2024 Yamaha MT-03

Winter Welcome for Pata Prometeon Yamaha in Assen Free Practice
Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli layered up and got to work on the opening day of the third round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship at the chilly TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands today.
Constantly changing conditions throughout the day, with strong winds and ice-cold rain showers, made preparations challenging for the full WorldSBK field during the two allotted 45-minute Free Practice sessions.
Despite completing just 18 laps in total, Rea finished the day in fifth place and less than a tenth from the top three positions, as he found a good feeling with his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK in a small dry window of opportunity this afternoon.
While teammate Locatelli missed the same window, the Italian rider found positives and confidence in a good wet set-up with his #55 machine later in the day as the rain returned in earnest.
As the forecast looks colder still for the first race day in Assen tomorrow, with temperatures unlikely to reach double digits and rain showers predicted throughout, both riders will be looking to improve to be able to battle for the podium in the main points paying races. Free Practice 3 will get underway at 9:00 CEST (BST+1) before Superpole qualifying at 11:00 and Race 1 at 14:00.
Free Practice Results
Jonathan Rea: P5 – 1’35.922
“The conditions today have been not ideal for setting up the bike. We never really had a full dry circuit, in Free Practice 2 it was a bit better in the beginning but with really strong gusts of wind. Every circuit I’m coming to this year, I still feel like I’m re-learning it with the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK but here in Assen I had a positive feeling straight away. I felt like it was quite easy to get to a quick lap time but to keep improving became more difficult especially with the changing conditions. We haven’t done many dry laps but everyone is in the same boat, so tomorrow we have to look at what the weather forecast is. Fortunately, we were able to get out at the end of FP2 just to check the wet set-up to give the guys some more information, as I haven’t spent a lot of time on the bike in wet conditions. I think we can make a good step with our set-up from that. The key of tomorrow will be weather and tyre choice, but today we only used one set of wet and one set of dry tyres so we didn’t get much tyre testing done.”
Andrea Locatelli: P18 – 1’37.227
“It was a strange day, honestly! To say that we understand something completely from today is not true, because we rode in many different conditions: the track was dry at the end of FP1, then we started with the dry set-up at the start of FP2 with the used tyre from FP1 before it started raining. It’s difficult to understand when it continues changing, but in the end in the wet I was happy, the feeling was good and the lap time was not too bad. Let’s see, it was just the first day. I hope for more consistent weather, either raining or dry, but here it looks impossible to have normal weather! We don’t have a lot of data, but we will see what we can do for tomorrow and try to be ready in every condition.”
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