Dominique Aegerter cruised to the top in FP1 by half-a-second while Turkish star Can Oncu topped the times in FP2
As the FIM Supersport World Championship jumped back on track at the TT Circuit Assen for the Motul Dutch Round, it was reigning Champion Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) who led the way. The Swiss rider posted the best lap time in Free Practice 1 and finished second in Free Practice 2 behind Turkish star Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), with the field closing the gap to Aegerter throughout the day.
CLOSING THE GAP: Aegerter’s lead reduced throughout Friday
After surging into top spot in FP1, posting a best time of 1’37.753s and becoming one of only two riders to lap in the 1’37s bracket, Aegerter topped the combined times by around three tenths of a second from Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). Oncu left it late in FP2 to post his best time of a 1’37.958s to top the second 45-minute session, although he was still a couple of tenths down on Aegerter’s best time of the day. He was fastest in FP2 though, topping the session by just 0.070s ahead of Aegerter as the Swiss rider was one of just three riders not to improve their time in FP2. Italian rookies finished third and fourth in the combined classification with Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) claiming third place, three tenths down on Aegerter in the combined standings. Aragon race winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) rounded out the top four after finding time in FP2, posting a best time of 1’38.143s
SIX RIDERS, FIVE TENTHS: a very congested top ten
Home rider Glenn van Straalen’s (EAB Racing Team) impressive start to the campaign continued with fifth place on Friday at his home track. The Dutchman was half-a-second down on Aegerter’s best time after posting a lap time of 1’38.236s, finishing over a tenth clear of French rider Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) in sixth place. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was the lead MV Agusta rider in the field in seventh place as he posted a best time of 1’38.513s, finishing just 0.026s ahead of Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing). With just a few minutes left on the clock in FP2, Caricasulo had a crash at the tight left-hander of Turn 5 on his Panigale V2, although he was able to re-join the session.
Caricasulo’s Italian compatriot, Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP) claimed a top ten finish with ninth spot after posting a best time of 1’38.614s, with De Rosa moving up the order throughout FP2. The top ten was rounded out by rookie Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) with the Italian ensuring all five manufacturers on the 2022 grid were represented in the top ten. Just half-a-second separated the six riders between fifth and tenth place, setting up showdowns on Saturday and Sunday.
HOPING TO MOVE FORWARD: inside the top 15…
French rider Andy Verdoia (GMT94 Yamaha) was 11th on his Yamaha machine as he continues his comeback in the Championship. Verdoia was the first rider more than a second away from Aegerter’s pace but he was almost two tenths clear of Hungary’s Peter Sebestyen (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) in 13th place. Rookie Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) claimed 13th spot while Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was 14th after an FP2 crash at Turn 1. Estonian rider Hannes Soomer (Dynavolt Triumph) rounded out the top 15 with a best time of 1’39.158s, four tenths away from a spot in the top ten.
HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Friday at Assen
2020 WorldSSP300 Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) had a difficult day in front of his home fans as he finished in 23rd place, with a Turn 7 crash in FP1 limiting his running on the opening day of Dutch Round action. He was just ahead of wildcard Jaimie van Sikkelerus (MPM Routz Racing) in 24th place on his comeback to the Championship, while Tom Edwards (Yart – Yamaha WorldSSP) was 26th in his first WorldSSP weekend.
The top six combined times from WorldSSP Friday at Assen, full results here:
1. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) 1’37.753s
2. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.205s
3. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP) +0.282s
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.390s
5. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) +0.483s
6. Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) +0.633s
Watch WorldSSP Tissot Superpole tomorrow at 10:25 (Local Time, GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!