Jonathan Rea is poised to challenge for another World Superbike Championship victory at Assen after qualifying on the front row for this year's event.
Bolstered by Ten Kate Racing's intimate knowledge of their local Dutch circuit, Rea has been a revelation around Assen over the last two seasons, winning three of the last four races to be held there.
With that in mind, Rea was a favourite for pole position aboard his Honda CBR1000RR, but while he had no answer to Tom Sykes's excellent session topping time, the Ulsterman was merely pleased to be starting at the front in second.
“I'm really happy to be back on the front row! All weekend we've been fast in all sessions and in all conditions, which have been very changeable, and the guys have got me out to learn the bike each time.
“I was quite happy with my Superpole 1 – it seemed good, but the bike was transformed with a qualifying tyre in Superpole 2 and I wasn't able to push as hard because of some chatter from the front.
Looking ahead to the races, Rea feels ready to race in the dry, though wetter conditions may force him to adopt a riskier set-up.
“The good news is that we don't have to race with a qualifier and we can go tomorrow with a set-up that I think is OK to race.
“In the wet, I still want to try some more things, but in the dry we're ready to race, although the tyre decision will be critical again, like in Imola. It's nice to be near the front though, and it's a little gift to the guys back at the workshop, who are continuing to work as hard as they can on the bike to make the package better. So this one's for the guys.”