Jonathan Rea has paid credit to his Kawasaki crew for providing him with the platform to claim a classy double victory weekend at Assen as he and the team kept their cool in tricky conditions.
The defending World Superbike champion produced a measured ride to claim victory in the opener at Assen to maximise his advantage over Tom Sykes and Michael van der Mark who both crashed out while battling for the lead.
However, in the wet-to-dry race two Rea and Kawasaki demonstrated their authority in World Superbikes by applying a perfect race strategy by pitting for slick tyres at the ideal time when track conditions dried sufficiently.
Despite the likes of Chaz Davies, Nicky Hayden and then race leader Josh Brookes opting to charge ahead on wet tyres both Rea and team-mate Sykes, who pitted on the same lap, kept their heads to reel in those on the wrong tyres to claim a comfortable 1-2.
The Northern Irishman, who notched up his fifth straight win in the Netherlands, extends his championship lead to 45 points thanks to his Assen masterclass. He says navigating the testing conditions in race two and focusing on the strategy for the likelihood of a best result was the key his success.
“I have no idea why I go so well at Assen,” Rea said. “It is nothing to do with the track itself. We got a double victory but it was not like Australia where I had more pace than the rest.
“We controlled the situations this weekend when we had to, we were calm and clever when we had to be, and as a team our strength shone through to get two strong results. We got the maximum from what we could achieve here so I am super, super, happy with that.
Rea also says learning from previous experiences of wet-to-dry running with Kawasaki helped the team produce its ideal race strategy and is thrilled to leave Assen with a healthy championship advantage.
“Our target this weekend was to increase our championship lead and we did that,” he said. “I said to Pere [Riba] my crew chief before the start of race two that the track should dry out pretty fast. We have had previous experiences like that. Our stars aligned this weekend and it worked out, so I am just happy.”