WSBK: Battle to the Finish in Race 2 at Assen

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Carlos Checa started the second World Superbike race at Assen in pole position, after wise tire management left him the only rider in Superpole 3 on Saturday with an unused qualifying tire. He was joined on the front row by Jakub Smrz, Eugene Laverty, and Noriyuki Haga. It was the first front row start (other than that for Race 1) for the Irish rider in his WSBK rookie season.

Laverty’s teammate Marco Melandri had worse luck, crashing on his final lap in Superpole 3 and only qualifying eighth. The second WSBK race at Assen got off to a late start after the Supersport race had multiple red flags. It had become somewhat cloudier as the afternoon progressed, but hampered the racing little.

Haga got a brilliant start, going straight to the front into Turn 1, with Biaggi and Checa following him. Haga managed a neat gap early on in the first lap, leaving Biaggi and Checa to scrap over second. By the end of the first lap, Haga led Biaggi, Checa, Laverty, Rea, Melandri, Haslam, Corser, Sykes, and Xaus as the top ten.

Soon, Haga, Biaggi, and Checa were away at the front, with a fighting Laverty, Rea, Melandri, and Haslam catching up to them. Checa, looking to get away on the soft rear tire, made his way around Biaggi, then Haga for the lead. Haga seemed to simply slip back, dropping down to fifth within a few turns. By the end of the fifth lap, Checa and Biaggi were gaining some space on Rea and Melandri, who had their own small gap on the rest of the field. Haga was sixth, with Laverty well back in eighth.

At the front, Biaggi would not let Checa get away. Though Camier, Haslam, Fabrizio, and Laverty were dueling for fifth, the top four seemed to settle in. By the halfway point of the twenty-two lap race, Checa still led Biaggi, with Rea finally having broken free from Melandri in third. Camier, Haslam, Haga, Fabrizio, Laverty and Sykes completed the top ten, as Corser had crashed out a few laps earlier.

Soon, Biaggi began losing a bit of time to Checa, with Rea gaining on the reigning champion. Melandri was coming with him, as the top three were covered by one second. Watching the top four became something of a waiting game as the laps ticked down, with the gap close enough for any rider to win, but noone jousting for position. With five laps left, Melandri crashed while pushing to stay ahead of Camier and catch Rea. At that point, Camier moved up to fourth, with Haslam, Laverty, Fabrizio, Haga, Guintoli, and Smrz rounding out the top ten.

Biaggi continued to close on Checa, but kept his head, sliding neatly through on Checa. The Championship leader had run a bit wide at the final chicane, leaving room for Biaggi to take the lead with two laps remaining. Still, Checa remained right on Biaggi’s rear wheel, decisively taking the lead back up the inside of Biaggi on the final lap, and keeping it across the finish. Rea comfortably finished third, with Camier and Haslam rounding out the top five.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Assen:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 7 Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati
2 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 0.524
3 4 Jonathon Rea Castrol Honda 3.584
4 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing Team 5.913
5 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport 16.916
6 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha WSBK Team 17.375
7 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 17.740
8 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 18.329
9 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 18.378
10 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 18.404
11 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 26.284
12 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 27.053
13 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 38.614
14 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 40.824
15 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 40.953
16 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 40.982
17 37 Barry Veneman BMW Motorrad Italia 45.423
18 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 3 Laps
Not Classified
33 Marco Melandri Yamaha WSBK Team 6 Laps
11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad Motorsport 15 Laps

Source: WSBK