Sofuoglu shows strength to lead on day one

Friday, 28 April 2017 14:42 GMT

WorldSSP World Champion on top on Friday in the Netherlands, with Jacobsen and Caricasulo in top three

After his difficult start to 2017 a determined Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) stated his intentions on Friday at Assen by topping the free practice timesheets on the first day of the Acerbis Dutch Round. The Turkish rider’s 1’38.950 in FP2 put him at the head of the combined timesheet, in front of PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) and Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team).

Sofuoglu missed the first two rounds of the season due to injury and then finished out of the points on his return at Aragon last time out, so he will be pleased to be on the right track at Assen. Just behind Sofuoglu (+0.172s) was American rider Jacobsen whose best Friday time came in FP1, as he was one of the only riders not to improve in the afternoon session.

Following third placed Caricasulo was standings leader Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) and in fifth place was Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) – who won the race at Assen last year.

Meanwhile, Gino Rea (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven), Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) and Michael Canducci (Puccetti Racing Junior Team FMI) were all in the top ten, despite a crash at turn 15 for Canducci in FP2. Those aforementioned top ten riders all go straight into SP2 on Saturday.

Kazuki Watanabe (Team Kawasaki Go Eleven) crashed at turn 7, whilst Christian Gamarino (BARDAHL EVAN BROS. Honda Racing) had laps cancelled in both Friday sessions for exceeding the track limits and crashed at turn 8 in FP1.

Earlier in the day in FP1 Jacobsen the way with a 1'39.122 best effort, with Sofuoglu just behind him (+0.013s) in second and Mahias in third (+0.743s). The session ended in a red flag due to oil on track after a crash involving Hikari Okubo (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), Stefan Hill (Profile Racing) and Lachlan Epis (Response RE Racing).

On Saturday at the Acerbis Dutch Round the WorldSSP riders have FP3 at 9.20am local time, with SP1 at 2pm and SP2 at 2.25pm.