The first of two appearances with the FIM Superbike World Championship takes place at the famous Assen circuit in The Netherlands over the weekend of April 23-24. Hot on the heels of the Le Mans opener, the battle for honours is already taking shape as we might have expected. This was always going to be a stellar season.
Defending Champions Markus Schlosser and Marcel Fries (Gustoil Yamaha) started the defence of their title with a hard-fought podium and a brilliant race two victory in France. It was not good enough to come away top scorers however, as Todd Ellis/Emmanuelle Clement (Santander Salt Yamaha) edged into the series lead with one victory and a second place.
Eight times Champion Tim Reeves with Kevin Rousseau alongside, was in the running with them but came out third best on the day. He is something of an Assen specialist so will be looking to make amends next weekend.
By his own admission, there is doubt as to whether he will contest the remainder of the World Championship season, so a good result in Assen could well influence that decision.
Steve Kershaw and Ryan Charlwood had the Quattro Yamaha on song and will certainly be aiming for podium spots at the very least. This duo has something of a reputation for biding their time watching and waiting.
The crowd in Assen will be a big one, as just as with France, bike and sidecar fans have been starved of live race action during the pandemic and are clearly making up for lost time.
Entries have been building steadily, but the core group of serious contenders from the UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland will be in action, along with a strong contingent of Dutch entries headed by former Champion Benny Streuer. He and Kevin Kolsch have work to do following a disastrous opener in Le Mans.
With two races on the programme late in the day Saturday and Sunday, fifty more points are there for the taking on one of the most charismatic circuits in the world.
A dedicated TV crew will record the action for later transmission, with broadcast schedules and destinations currently under negotiation.
Media Matters – Barry Nutley firstname.lastname@example.org