The weather conditions made for a tough weekend in Assen for the Yamaha R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders. Unseasonably cold weather made qualifying difficult, but Galang Hendra rose to the challenge to take pole position in temperatures very different to those he’s used to in his home country of Indonesia. Arriving in Parc Ferme after qualifying, the Semakin Di Depan Biblion MotoXRacing rider experienced snow for the first time, as the first flakes started falling on the paddock.
Andy Verdoïa was the only other bLU cRU rider to qualify inside the top 30 to automatically secure his place on the grid for Sunday’s 12-lap WorldSSP300 race, with the Frenchman finishing the 20-minute Superpole session in 21st position, despite a crash.
Jacopo Facco, Beatriz Neila and Kevin Sabatucci, all of whom qualified outside the top 30 in the difficult conditions of Superpole, were looking to secure their place on the grid for Sunday’s race by finishing top six in the WorldSSP300 Last Chance Race on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, all three lost out on the opportunity when heavy snowfall forced the race to be cancelled.
In slightly better conditions on Sunday it was Galang Hendra who led the charge into the first corner, but the young Indonesian was soon swallowed up by the leading group having opted to run shorter gearing on his YZF-R3 GYTR for the race to improve acceleration. Unfortunately, while this brought an improvement on corner exit, the compromise was less top speed around the fast sections of the Assen circuit, of which there are a lot. Galang Hendra was able to race within the leading group but didn’t have the top speed in the slipstream necessary to improve his position in the pack and he crossed the line in 19th place at the finish.
Starting from the seventh row of the grid, Verdoïa had managed to fight his way into the top half of the 26-rider leading group by the midpoint of the race. With three laps to go the Frenchman moved up into the top ten and managed to defend ninth position to the line, on what was a typically frantic WorldSSP300 last lap.
Unfortunately, Finn de Bruin was unable to participate in his home round in Assen, due to a fracture to his right thumb sustained when he was brought down by another rider last time out in Aragon.
The R3 bLU cRU Challenge overall standings after two races sees Andy Verdoïa leading the way with Galang Hendra Pratama second and Beatriz Neila in third place. The R3 bLU cRU Challenge riders will return to action in round three of WorldSSP300, which takes place at the Imola Circuit in Italy from 10 – 12 May.