Rea leaves it late to take top spot.
Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) powered to the top spot in the opening free practice of the weekend at a cold but dry Assen circuit in the Netherlands after a last lap stole what had been looking like a number one position for Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team).
In the early minutes of the session it was Phillip Island race two winner Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) who made the early running just ahead of Assen specialist Rea who is riding at one of his favourite circuits buoyed by a podium finish in Spain.
The session was for the most part uneventful with the 28 riders continually searching for the optimum setup however, Davide Giugliano (Ducati SBK Team) overshot turn one at the half way point but was soon able to rejoin the circuit, eventually finishing the session in 3rd place overall.
In the final ten minutes a flurry of on track fastest laps meant it was hard to keep up with the frantic changing of positions but at the flag it was Rea who was fastest from Baz after an impressive final sector on his last lap of the session.
Returning to a track that he knows, Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) was a notable 6th just behind his team mate Eugene Laverty and reigning Champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) who was a solid 4th.
Early pace setter Guintoli dropped to 8th behind his Aprilia Racing Team counterpart Marco Melandri who improved to 7th with his final lap.
In the EVO category the fastest rider was Althea Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa who rode impressively to 9th overall. Christian Iddon and Ayrton Badovini (Team Bimota Alstare) were 2nd and 3rd within the exciting new addition to superbike and looking impressive in only their second event of the year.
With rain forecast tomorrow, today’s final session at 1530 local time could prove to be crucial when it comes to making it inside the top 20 in the overall classification for the new look Tissot-Superpole sessions tomorrow.