World Superbike Assen Results 2012

April 22, 2012
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Sylvain Guintoli led the way during poor Friday weather conditions at the Assen circuit.
French rider Sylvain Guintoli led an all-Ducati Race 1 podium at Assen following a red-flag restart.

Fluctuating weather conditions made for an interesting round of World Superbike racing at the Assen circuit. Effenbert Liberty Racing’s Sylvain Guintoli scored his first-ever SBK victory in a red-flagged Race 1, meanwhile Honda’s Jonathan Rea claimed his first win of 2012 – the Ten Kate team shining at its home circuit. The wild Round 3 proceedings also included a prominent change in the championship points, as Max Biaggi retook the lead with a lackluster 4-8 byline thanks to a critical error from reigning SBK champion Carlos Checa.

Race 1

Guintoli claimed victory in an incident plagued Race 1 at Assen. The French rider led an all-Ducati podium, flanked by Althea Racing’s Davide Giugliano and Carlos Checa. The factory Aprilia duo of Max Biaggi and Eugene Laverty followed the rostrum Ducati’s to round out the top five.

The initial start saw pole position rider Tom Sykes take the early lead, a spot he would not relinquish until retiring with bike issues on Lap 12. That opened the door for BMW’s Marco Melandri, who jumped into the lead before tossing his Beemer, which prompted the red flag.

Even more mayhem occurred after the red flag restart. The nine wet laps resulted in six DNF results, prominent among them three-time Assen winner Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike) and Leon Haslam. The Englishman was the second BMW Motorrad rider to crash out while leading, tossing away a probable victory – the Bavarian marque’s first-ever in SBK.
 
Instead Guintoli was granted the first-ever SBK win designation. The final rostrum shuffle had a surprising shuffle of the Althea Racing duo of Giugliano and Checa, the Italian passing his elder teammate and prime title contender for second in the closing laps. The four points poached by Giugliano would later prove pivotal to Checa’s drop to second overall.

2012 World Superbike Assen Race 1:
1. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
2. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
3. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
4. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
5. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
6. Michel Fabrizio (BMW)
7. Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
8. Niccolò Canepa (Ducati)
9. Marco Melandri (BMW)
10. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki)
11. Maxime Berger (Ducati)
12. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
13. David Salom (Kawasaki)
14. Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati)
15. Mark Aitchison (BMW)
DNF Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
DNF Chaz Davies (Aprilia)
DNF Leon Haslam (BMW)
DNF John Hopkins (Suzuki)
DNF Leon Camier (Suzuki)
DNF Jonathan Rea (Honda)
DNF Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
DNF Bret McCormick (Ducati)

Rea gutted out a Race 1 hand injury to take the win in the second SBK contest at Assen.
Rea gutted out a Race 1 hand injury to take the win in the second SBK contest at Assen.

Assen SBK Race 2

The second Assen SBK race saw Rea rebound from his disappointing Race 1 DNF to seize the checkers, giving his Ten Kate team a victory at its home circuit. The Race 1 winner Guintoli marked his best round ever in SBK, the Effenbert Liberty Racing rider taking second in Race 2. Irishman Eugene Laverty claimed the best result for his new Aprilia SBK employers, rounding out the podium. Points leader Checa, meanwhile, finished outside the points in 17th.

Up front Jakub Smrz jumped to an early lead, a position he’d hold for most of the race, but tire choice doomed the Czech rider. Smrz faded with his wet front tire on a drying track. A tire gamble made Checa a non-factor as well, the defending champion betting on wet conditions but forced to pit and change rubber when the rains did not arrive.

Rea fought through pain of a hand injury in his Race 1 DNF crash to hang with the group behind Smrz. The opening laps had pole position starter Sykes battling up front as well, along with Laverty and Liberty Racing’s second rider, Guintoli. Sykes would go on to fade from podium contention, finishing sixth.

After Smrz dropped off the pace, Guintoli moved in to the lead. Rea made his move around Guintoli with two to go and opened up a comfortable gap en route to his first victory of 2012 – his fourth Assen SBK win in the past six races at the Dutch circuit. Guintoli held firm in second, with Laverty a strong third as BMW Motorrad teammates Melandri and Haslam fought over the remaining top five positions.

Max Biaggi ended Race 2 in eighth. While the 4-8 byline at Assen isn’t up to Biaggi standards, the 2010 SBK champion leaves Assen with the points lead. The Italian holds a slim one-point advantage over his Spanish rival Checa, who netted 16 points from his Race 1 podium. Sykes holds third overall 13 down on the leader. Meanwhile, Guintoli’s 1-2 breakout evens him with Melandri at 66 championship points – with Rea at 65 thanks to his Race 2 victory.

2012 World Superbike Assen Race 2:

Assen Race 2 SBK podium: Guintoli  Rea and Laverty
Assen Race 2 SBK podium: Guintoli, Rea and Laverty.

1. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati)
3. Eugene Laverty (Aprilia)
4. Marco Melandri (BMW)
5. Leon Haslam (BMW)
6. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki)
7. Ayrton Badovini (BMW)
8. Max Biaggi (Aprilia)
9. Davide Giugliano (Ducati)
10. Michel Fabrizio (BMW)
11. John Hopkins (Suzuki)
12. David Salom (Kawasaki)
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
14. Leon Camier (Suzuki)
15. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki)
16. Mark Aitchison (BMW)
17. Carlos Checa (Ducati)
DNF Lorenzo Zanetti (Ducati)
DNF Jakub Smrz (Ducati)
DNF Chaz Davies (Aprilia)
DNF Maxime Berger (Ducati)
DNF Brett McCormick (Ducati)
DNF Niccolò Canepa (Ducati)

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