After topping the combined standings on Friday, Dominique Aegerter continued to top the times on Saturday, setting a 1:36.906 to set a new lap record and secure pole position for the weekend’s two races.
Race one got underway in a fiery manner as a six-rider battle emerged from the off at a sunny but blustery TT Circuit Assen. Making the most of pole position, Aegerter swooped into turn one ahead of the pack, but quickly found himself under pressure from his rivals.
Despite his strong start, Aegerter relinquished the lead to Nicolò Bulega on lap four as Lorenzo Baldassarri and Glenn van Straalen looked to take advantage as the pair battled for third. As the top five pushed on, Baldassarri looked to make progress. The Evan Bros Yamaha rider lay fourth after being passed by the EAB Yamaha, but as he looked to reclaim a podium position, he slid out of the race at turn ten.
With Aegerter in his sights, van Straalen made his move, passing the 31-year-old for second before getting the better of the Ducati for the lead. Determined to secure home victory for his Ten Kate team, Aegerter fought back, reclaiming second place by passing Bulega and set after leader van Straalen.
Nothing split the leading duo with five laps to go, they set identical lap times ahead of the closing stages of what was a blisteringly fast race. Getting a better run out of turn 11, Aegerter made the move, diving underneath the number 28 Yamaha at the Ramshook corner, stealing the lead before a crash further down the field brought out a red flag, ending the Assen Showdown early.
Aegerter looked to have timed his move to perfection, crossing the previous sector +0.081 seconds ahead of van Straalen, to secure back-to-back victories and extend his championship lead. Despite missing out on the win, van Straalen gave his home crowd a reason to cheer as he climbed onto the second step of the podium with his maiden rostrum in WorldSSP.
In a race of attrition, Jules Cluzel brought his GMT 94 Yamaha home in fourth with Patrick Hobelsberger in eighth and Leonardo Taccini made it a double top-ten for Ten Kate Yamaha in tenth.
Unai Orradre enjoyed an impressive opening race in the Netherlands. The 18-year-old battled hard during the shortened encounter and was rewarded with three points for 13th place. Kyle Smith recovered from a crash in Superpole to finish 16th.
Thanks to a home victory for his Ten Kate team, Aegerter heads into race two 24 points clear of van Straalen in second, while Baldassarri sits third, a further point behind.
Sunday’s action will commence with morning warm up before lights go out at 12:30 local time for race two.