There were mixed results for Team HRC in the weekend’s first Superbike race at the Assen TT Circuit, rider Leon Haslam working hard to score more championship points while Alvaro Bautista unfortunately suffered a crash in the opening stages.
After using the morning’s final free practice to make some last adjustments to the set-up of their bikes, the riders were ready for the Superpole qualifying phase. The action-packed 15-minute session saw Haslam set some interesting lap times on race rubber, but less than expected with the qualifying tyre. Leon completed a strong lap in 1’34.467 to finish eighth, meaning a third row start for the Brit in the weekend’s first races. Alvaro set a 1’34.791 to place tenth, so a fourth row start for the Spaniard.
Race-1 got underway at 2pm local time, and in dry conditions. From tenth on the grid, Bautista made a strong start in an attempt to stick with the front group, but unfortunately, he never even got a chance to battle against his rivals, losing the front before the end of the opening lap on turn 8 and thus putting a premature end to his race. Haslam meanwhile moved up into seventh in the early stages, working hard to get into a rhythm that would allow him to stick with the chasing group. Not feeling particularly at ease with the front, the British rider was nevertheless able to cross the line in eighth place (the race was stopped with a red flag after 19 laps, two laps ahead of time, after another rider suffered a crash), scoring some important points in the process.