Jonny’s Dutch of class in rain-lashed victory
Ballyclare's Jonathan Rea moved up to fourth in the World Superbike Championship standings after a brilliant double podium, boosted by a race two victory at Assen in Holland.
The Pata Honda rider took third place in the opening encounter behind the factory Aprilia of Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli and the Kawasaki of current world champion Tom Sykes.
Then after lengthy delays caused by torrential rain, the 27-year-old Ulsterman took a classy victory in tricky conditions in a sprint race run over just 10 laps.
Speaking after his fifth career victory at the 4.542km circuit, Rea beamed: “It’s been a really good weekend because we’ve been on the podium twice. To be honest, our dry pace was okay in race one but Sylvain Guintoli made such a fast start to the race, I struggled to go with him.”
Recounting race two, where he was joined on the podium by Alex Lowes (Suzuki) and the Ducati of Davide Guigliano, Rea added: “For race two we were quite excited to see if we could go with them in the dry but during the break it rained quite heavily.
“To win that second race was really special. It’s a wet race win around Assen but I kept having flashbacks to Magny-Cours in 2012 when I had a 10-second lead and crashed.
“For the last laps I just tried to be as smart as I could, and they were long laps, because I had a bit of a gap. I just want to thank all the team.”
Fellow Ulsterman Eugene Laverty had a weekend to forget with new team Voltcom Crescent Suzuki. The Toomebridge man crashed out of both races at Assen, leaving him eighth in the championship standings, 62 points adrift of series leader Tom Sykes on the factory Kawasaki.
“We had a bad start in the first race but we had a strong pace and it was a clear 11 points so I’m really angry that I threw those away,” said Laverty.
Turning to race two, he added: “I just had a terrible feeling with the bike and it was a crash waiting to happen. A terrible day and two non-finishes is a big disaster. This was a track where I felt we could be strong, so to leave with no points is a big disappointment.”
Fellow Irishman Jack Kennedy had similar misfortune in the World Supersport encounter, crashing out on lap eight whilst disputing sixth position. The middleweight encounter was won by local man Michael van der Mark aboard the Pata Honda from French duo Florian Marino (Kawasaki) and Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta).
* Eugene’s brother Michael Laverty finished the third round of the MotGP series in Argentina in 18th position.Marc Marquez continued his domination of the MotoGP season as he swept to victory.
The 21-year-old reigning champion made it three wins out of three in the championship's first visit to Argentina for 15 years and first ever to the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo.
It made Marquez the first man since Giacomo Agostini in 1971 to first win the first three races of the season all from pole position.
Marquez could even afford to run wide on the final lap before taking the flag ahead of team-mate and fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who passed Lorenzo with just over a lap to go.
Third place was some consolation for double former champion Lorenzo, who has had a nightmare start to the season with a first-lap crash in Qatar and a false start in Texas.
In the absence of injured Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith was the leading British finisher in seventh, with Scott Redding 14th.