As WSBK heads to Assen this week, it’s raining. Sykes was fastest in FP1, but it matters little as the rain could dry before race day. Alex Lowes set the fastest pace in FP2, but it will be impossible to predict a wet race winner. The weather prediction is 40% rain and mostly cloudy. So if it rains in the morning, it will be hard to see a dry track by race time. That will no doubt hurt the likes of Sykes and Rea and improve the chances for everyone else. Van Der Mark crashed a couple of times in the wet practice but Assen is his home track and he may be able to do better on qualification day. Davide Giugliano may have best chance of everyone to have some good luck in the rain and to find himself a podium. It is said that rain is the great equalizer; we will test that on Sat and Sun this week. Kawasaki will undoubtedly be strong at Assen if it is dry. I feel confident that Jonathan Rea will take at least one race if not both if it does not rain.
I find that this year there is far more excitement for the WSBK series than there is for MotoGP. The host of problems plaguing MotoGP are not at issue for the Superbike Series, in SBK’s it about competition not equipment or personal rivalries. ( Well its always about equipment to some extent) All two rider teams have internal competition but in SBK the feeling is healthy and natural as compared to MotoGP where interteam rivalries can reach unhealthy levels. In WSBK there is an air of sportsmanship that allows riders and fans to focus on the actual riding and racing. .
I am however, extremely excited to see what the challengers can bring this season, and there are a lot quality challengers. I am expecting Chaz Davies to be on podium again. I would be pleasantly surprised to find the Honda’s in the top five. Van Der Mark will be at his home circuit and should have some additional insight into the track in the wet or the dry. His teammate is due for some better results so we will watch with baited breath Nicky has mentioned his learning curve in nearly every interview so far, as an American I hope the best for my countryman.