Gianluca Montiron, former MotoGP team manager, analyzes Assen’s race. That’s what he’s foreseeing…
The Superbike gave us a great show in Assen. On Race 1, within a nice quartet made up of Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Ducati and enclosed in a 1.5 seconds time frame, it was Jonathan Rea who eventually won, as usual. Race 2 was Tom Sykes triumphant victory, giving Kawasaki a second win. The third place on the podium went to Van der Mark, confirming Yamaha R1’s competitiveness. Jonathan Rea managed to maintain his leading position in the ranking, taking some risks and constantly having to give 100%, despite technical regulations and an inverted starting grid! (Here you can find Race 2 ranking and report)
2019 MARKET – Xavi Fores with his Panigale affirms himself as a good rider belonging to a good team, Barni. Marco Melandri suffered because of his bike’s fuss and his mood felt the consequences. The SBK market is an interesting one, especially when thinking about the future World Championships and next year’s debut of the Ducati V4. Yamaha is definitely looking for an elite rider…see you on May 12th and 13th at Imola, we’ll have some fun!
ENTRY LEVEL – This year the 300SSP sees KTM joining in with the single-cylinder super-performing RC390 and Kawasaki with the new double-cylinders Ninja 400. The FIM is looking for regulations to balance categories, which is currently one of the main subjects under discussion, but according to the rankings even at Assen the Yamaha R3 seemed to have suffered a performance-deterioration compared to competing models. Behind the scenes, all production companies are working hard. Assen’s pole position was 3.5 seconds faster than 2017, despite worsening weather conditions (9° Celsius the air temperature back in 2017 vs. 17° Celsius this year). Truth is, the 300SSP needs to ensure high-performance to be educational, the same way as production companies need to encourage the growth of their young riders to secure their loyalty. A philosophical comparison, but also a political one. On the one hand, Yamaha has its youth program and a keen eye on costs culminating in the bLU cRu, a genuine professional growth’s path for riders. On the other hand, KTM and Kawasaki are more interested in working on technological improvements, an SBK way already taken by others in the past.
SUPERSPORT – Here, the former supporting characters of the Moto2 are now the leaders, making it an interesting category considering it is an almost-single-branding Yamaha regime. Lucas Mahias will have a tough job after Kenan Sofuoglu had to forfeit. Krummenacher, Cluzel, and Cortese will have their one-shot opportunity to win the 600SSP throne. Krummenacher was the fastest on Assen’s circuit, but he had to pay for his team carelessness as they forgot to fill up the bike before the race: he eventually had to stop at the pit, getting the last position on the starting grid. He performed a superb come back that took him all the way up to a 1-point-away position from the leading rider Mahias. A good race for Raffaele De Rosa too, but his MV August was far less lively than its competitors.
GOODBYE SUPERSTOCK – This is a separate chapter. Reiterberger is a young rider with an SBK past, who, during Qualifying at Assen, raced on his BMW S1000RR just less than one second behind Loris Baz riding the same S1000RR with an SBK set up. He was 0,440 milliseconds faster in Aragon, demonstrating that the SBK’s future is already written, making private teams happy: a lower budgeting for the teams but maintaining a crowded starting grid to put on a show. The STK1000 fate seems to be sealed, they will need to make room for something new in the motorbikes’ future!