Overall, Yamaha riders scored pole position and three podium results in the premier WorldSBK category, winning both FIM Supersport World Championship races, while its bLU cRU riders and graduates starred in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship and Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup classes.
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, Andrea Dosoli, shares his thoughts on another dramatic world championship weekend.
“It has been a positive event, the race in Assen, where for the first time since a couple of years we had the grandstands full of fans and the paddock open to everybody. Having 50,000 spectators means a lot and it shows the growing interest in the WorldSBK championship. It has also been the home race for Yamaha Motor Europe, and it has been nice to see a lot of our staff enjoying the weekend.”
WorldSBK – Best result for Locatelli, strong showing for the Yamaha R1 package
Returning to the track at which he celebrated his first WorldSBK podium, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK’s Andrea Locatelli managed his best result to date, finishing second in Race 2, having been a comfortable fourth in Race 1 and the Superpole sprint race.
Teammate Toprak Razgatlıoğlu battled for victory in all three races, finishing on the podium twice. Unfortunately, while leading the final encounter a collision with last year’s title rival Jonathan Rea, which saw both riders crash out of the race without injury, meant the Turkish rider was unable to fight for victory in Race 2.
“We had the best-ever result with Andrea, finishing P2 in Race 2. A very strong result in the Race 1 and Superpole Race confirms the value of having Andrea and the fact that he really likes Assen. The R1 package is working quite well around Assen, as proved by an amazing performance in qualifying from Toprak, but it was also nice to see that three of our riders placed in the first two rows. The weekend for Toprak didn’t end as we expected, he achieved very good results in Race 1 and the SPRC. Unfortunately, in Race 2 he was not able to fight for the win because of the collision. It’s a shame because we had made good steps forward with the bike, but both riders can look positively to the next round.”
For the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, Garrett Gerloff enjoyed a positive step forward in qualifying, finishing Race 1 in eighth and the SPRC in seventh, before contact forced him to DNF while running in the front group in Race 2.
His teammate Kohta Nozane narrowly missed out on points in Race 1 due to a long lap penalty, with his Race 2 ending at Turn 1 when he fell heavily after another rider made contact with his R1.
Elsewhere, GIL Motorsport Yamaha’s Christophe Ponsson bounced back from a difficult opener at Aragón to collect a pair of solid 12th-place finishes.
“I’m pleased to see that Garrett achieved the second row in qualifying. It’s something we’ve been working on and I’m happy that he has hit this target. He could not show his full potential in Race 1 due to the rear tyre selection, and in Race 2 he had a good start but was forced to retire after contact. It’s disappointing for him because he was in the front group and had good pace, but we are sure he will be back strong in Portugal.
“Kohta was able to keep a very consistent pace in Race 1, but the long lap penalty meant he couldn’t be in the top 15. On Sunday, he expected more, as they improved the bike and had a good performance in the SPRC, but unfortunately, he was hit by another rider on Lap 1 of Race 2. Luckily, he only sustained a minor injury. We expect that he will be fully fit for the next race. I would also like to congratulate Christophe and the GIL Motorsport team for a strong reaction after the Aragón difficulties. He achieved a result close to the top 10, which is promising for the coming races.”
WorldSSP – Aegerter unstoppable at Ten Kate Yamaha’s home round
Dominique Aegerter gave the Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s home crowd much to celebrate, taking pole position and a pair of fine victories, while Dutch rider Glenn van Straalen also claimed his first-ever podium in Race 1 with second. Lorenzo Baldassarri bounced back from a crash in Race 1 to take second on Sunday,
GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel was fourth in Saturday’s race, while his teammate Andy Verdoia was unable to start the races due to issued with severe arm pump. Verdoia’s fellow bLU cRU rider Unai Orradre enjoyed a solid outing at the TT Circuit Assen, taking two points scoring finishes.
“It was an amazing performance by Dominique and the Ten Kate Yamaha team on the team’s home racetrack. Dominique was able to run a pace in Race 2 that no one else could follow, which showed that he had the race under control. Difficult Race 1 for Lorenzo, but a strong reaction in Race 2 saw him take second position. We have already seen in Aragón an impressive performance for Glenn, who was not too far from the podium. Fighting for the win in Race 1 in front of his home crowd means a lot to him and his team. It was nice to see Jules improve his feeling with the bike in Race 1, but unfortunately in Race 2 he was hit by another rider and that ended his race early.”
WorldSSP300 – Mammoth comeback sees Diaz lead championship
In WorldSSP300, bLU cRU graduate Alvaro Diaz produced a spectacular ride from 28th on the grid to finish second in Race 2, taking the championship lead in the process. Mirko Gennai took his maiden podium, finishing third in Race 1, while the 2021 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup riders also impressed. Iker Garcia Abella was twice in the points, with Fenton Seabright and Humberto Maier qualifying in the top 10 before fighting for the podium.
“It’s nice to see that our boys moving from Aragón to Assen have confirmed their speed. Congratulations to Alvaro, who recovered from a difficult qualifying. It’s not so easy to finish on the podium from 28th on the grid, but this can only be possible if you really have a strong belief in yourself. It was also nice to see Mirko get his first podium, he has shown a great step forward and was in the fight again in Race 2. I would like to give a special mention to our bLU cRU riders from the R3 Cup, who were in the fight for the podium. Fenton was unlucky to crash out of the races, as he was in with a chance of a podium, and Iker was also in the fight for the top three and we can expect more from him in the coming races.”
Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup – Brazil’s Valentim flawless on Assen debut
Brazil’s Enzo Valentim dominated the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup round at Assen, going fastest in Free Practice, qualifying on pole position, and winning both races to leave The Netherlands at the top of the championship standings.
“The Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup has shown two good races at the Cathedral of Speed, which is not an easy racetrack and unknown for the majority of the riders. This is the case for Enzo, who has dominated the Dutch round, securing pole position and taking two wins. Congratulations to him, it shows how good the program in Brazil is, confirmed also by the podiums enjoyed by Kevin Fontainha. So, a big thanks to the work the organisers do over in Brazil with these young talents.”
Estoril will host the third round of the WorldSBK, WorldSSP and WorldSSP300 championships on the 20-22 May, while the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Cup will return to action on 10-12 June at Misano.