Rea and Checa score race wins at Assen
Jonathan Rea (Castrol Honda) overcame the early battles at Assen in Holland to record his and Honda’s first win of the 2011 World Suerbike Championship season, beating Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) by 0.7 seconds and championship leader Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) by 3.5 seconds in race one.
Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike) overcame a slow start to claw his way back to fourth, just ahead of Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki Alstare). With Australia’s Troy Corser (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) behind Fabrizio there were six different machines inside the top six places. Top Kawasaki runner was Mark Aitchison (Pedercini Team Kawasaki) in tenth. Leon Haslam, Corser’s team-mate, survived a fast early crash to recover to a top-12 finish.
A delayed start to the second Assen race made no difference to the outcome, as Checa and Biaggi played a high-speed game of cat-and-mouse. Biaggi looking to have it wrapped up as he passed long time leader Checa, only for the Spanish rider to reassert himself on the final lap and win his fourth race of the year.
A battle between Rea and Melandri ended when the Italian star fell, leaving Rea on the podium in third. Leon Camier (Aprilia Alitalia) was fourth, while a multiple rider fight for fifth went to Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport), from Eugene Laverty, Michel Fabrizio, Noriyuki Haga, Jakub Smrz and SylvainGuintoli.
In the points standings Checa now leads by 132 to Biaggi’s 89. Melandri is third on 85, Rea jumping to fourth with his new total of 79 points.