Jonathan Rea has drawn level with Carl Fogarty for the most World Superbike race wins at Assen with his 12th victory at the iconic Dutch circuit with a masterful display against Michael van der Mark and Chaz Davies.
Rea grabbed the holeshot to set the initial pace before local hero van der Mark dived into the lead at the Gert Trimmer chicane in front of the home fans at the end of lap eight.
The Pata Yamaha rider’s lead would only last for two laps as Rea measured his rival’s pace before repaying the favour with an identical overtake at the final chicane.
In recent seasons Rea has been able to charge away at the front but the reigning World Superbike champion was kept in check by van der Mark with Davies also in close contention while Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes joined the fight for the podium places.
But Rea, who has won the past seven consecutive World Superbike races at Assen, used his experience to pull out a time gap of around one second on the final three laps to keep clear of the pack and claim an historic victory. Rea is now equal with Fogarty on 12 wins each at Assen in the series and will have the chance to take the outright record in race two.
Pata Yamaha’s van der Mark enjoyed a late tussle with Davies to hold on to second place to equal his and the team’s best result of the year.
With Davies taking third place for Aruba.it Racing Ducati, Sykes’ late charge left him in fourth place for Kawasaki and comfortably ahead of Barni Ducati’s Xavi Fores.
Factory Ducati rider Marco Melandri lost touch with the front-runners to finish down in sixth place ahead of Althea BMW’s Loris Baz who clinched his best result since return to World Superbikes.
Leandro Mercado also produced his best finish of the year with Orelac Kawasaki in eighth place as Jordi Torres (MV Agusta) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Puccetti Kawasaki) completed the top ten in front of Roman Ramos (Team GoEleven Kawasaki).
It was a disaster race for maiden pole-sitter Alex Lowes as he finished a distant 12th place after having to start the race on his second Pata Yamaha machine due to an issue with his first bike just before the race.
Davide Giugliano led the Milwaukee Aprilia led the team’s charge down in 13th place after Lorenzo Savadori tipped off midway through the race but recovered to take the final points place just behind TripleM Honda’s PJ Jacobsen.
Yonny Hernandez (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) and Ondrej Jezek (Guandalini Yamaha) completed the finishing positions with Michael Ruben Rinaldi crashing out early on for the Aruba.it Racing Ducati junior squad.
Red Bull Honda were forced to miss the opening Assen race with Jake Gagne forced out by injury from a heavy high-side crash on Friday practice while teammate Leon Camier continues to recover from three broken ribs and a chest injury sustained at Aragon.