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SBK, Assen: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Spinelli and Barni live out a fairy tale in the Netherlands while Toprak continues to make dream BMW which until last year was living nightmares. Bautista remains the man to beat amid rain, cold and wind

SBK: Assen: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Rain, cold and wind: this was the scenario that teams and riders had to deal with at the Assen weekend. In fact, borderline conditions put the protagonists of the production-based series to the test amidst weather that threw tantrums, risky tire choices and unexpected outcomes.

Nicholas Spinelli, catapulted into the World Championship at the last minute, wrote a page of history that will forever remain etched along with the Barni team. Toprak, on the other hand, continues to make dream BMW, which a year ago was living a kind of nightmare.

In front of everyone, however, the man is back, namely Alvaro Bautista, who leads a compelling World Championship with the top three in the Championship enclosed in just 14 points.

THE GOOD - What a spectacle this Toprak is! After breaking his Barcelona taboo three weeks ago, the Turk repeated the feat at Assen, where he had never won. The No. 54 is making all the difference riding the M 1000 RR, to such an extent that he has taken the German bike to a level light years away from that of last season. As mentioned Bautista remains the man to beat, but now Toprak has extra weapons to use in his arsenal.

THE BAD - Out of nine races held to date, Iker Lecuona has only ridden three! Apparently the Honda is really putting the Spaniard's stamina to the test, and he was again forced to throw in the towel after Saturday morning's crash in FP3. We are really sorry to see the Iberian in such pain riding a CBR, which each time presents him with a hefty bill to pay.

THE UGLY- And to think it was even snowing on Monday. Between wind, cold and sudden downpours, Assen was a real roulette on and off the track. For more information ask the riders and in the paddock the officials.

CONFIRMATION - It was Remy Gardner who held high the Yamaha colours in the Netherlands. With Rea called upon to play catch-up, the GRT Australian has shown in this early part of the season that he has all the right cards to fight with the fastest riders. In Australia he was knocked down, in Barcelona he was able to take a step forward while at the TT he was solid and consistent throughout the weekend taking his first podium of the season. The road is set, all that remains is to follow it.

DISAPPOINTMENT - At this point it is really hard to understand what is happening to Michael Ruben Rinaldi. The season finale of 2023 seemed to herald revenge after being dumped by Aruba, but instead the Romagnolo rider has ended up in a tunnel that currently sees no way out. Misano, his Misano, represents the moment of truth.

MISTAKE - He took it upon himself to dust himself down, not to put to fine a point on it, on Saturday afternoon. Andrea Iannone was attached to the top group in Race 1, but all it needed was for him to clip the wet curb to suddenly find himself on the ground. Certainly Race 2 was a good response.

SURPRISE - An easy and obvious one, the name of Nicholas Spinelli. The rider from Abruzzo probably has not yet realized what he did on Saturday in Race 1 and will probably only realize it once he returns home and sits comfortably on the couch. His fairy tale has something unique and special for a boy catapulted from nowhere into the World Championship. Nicholas is living a dream and with him the entire Barni team headed by Marco Barnabò, which in recent years has never given up in getting stuck in despite the difficulties.

OVERTAKE - For the occasion we wish to reward the super comeback of Alvaro Bautista in the Superpole Race on Sunday morning, from seventh to first. We leave the best pass to you to choose.

CURIOSITY - Never had it happened in the history of Superbike that two riders won on their debut in the category in the same year. After Nicolò Bulega it was the turn of another Italian, namely Nicholas Spinelli, whom we hope to meet again soon in the World Championship.

I TOLD YOU SO - Redding after Barcelona: "I know I can beat Toprak, the difficult tracks are behind me." Apparently it didn't go the way he hoped.


Translated by Julian Thomas

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