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Rea resists Toseland for Assen win

25 April 2010

Jonathan Rea has won his first World Superbike Championship race of the season after holding off a feisty James Toseland and Leon Camier for an all-British podium at Assen.

An exciting conclusion to the first WSBK race of the day would see Rea, Toseland and Camier dicing for victory after breaking away in the latter stages, but while Toseland nosed ahead with three laps remaining, Rea would snatch back the initiative before sprinting to the finish line.

Having started from pole position, Rea sat behind early leader Troy Corser for ten laps before muscling his way through, but he was never able to stretch away from the chasing pack.

It meant Toseland, who stalked his way up the field from tenth on the grid, was able to grab the lead briefly towards the end with a daring move at the final corner chicane, only for Rea to get it back on the ensuing home straight before holding on for victory.

Indeed, Rea was made to work hard from the start of the race after slotting into third position initially behind Corser, who made the most of his front row grid slot, and Camier, the Briton making good use of his fast-starting Aprilia.

Just behind, Jakub Smrz clung onto fourth despite almost coming together with Rea through the opening turns, ahead of Max Biaggi and Toseland, the latter up to sixth at the close of the opening lap from the third row.

It wasn't long before Toseland was making swift progress up the order, relieving Biaggi of fifth on lap two and latching onto the lead pack.

By contrast, championship leader Leon Haslam was having a troublesome time on the Suzuki Alstare, the Briton straight-lining the final chicane to drop to ninth on lap four, before a further error on lap five saw him slip out of the points in 16th.

Up at the front, Corser looked comfortable in the lead, the BMW rider controlling the pace as Rea moved into second at the expense of Camier, while Smrz would also get the better of the reigning BSB champion soon after.

With ten laps down, however, Rea began to up the pressure on Corser, the Northern Irishman catching his more experienced rival unawares through the Ruskenhoek chicane to clamber over the kerbs and snatch the lead.

Prompting a flurry of activity just behind, Toseland was up to third ahead of Smrz, while a bit of shuffling between the Czech rider and Camier would eventually see the Aprilia man come out on top by the end of lap 11.

Far from fading straight away as he did in Valencia when he lost his early lead, Corser maintained his pace to cling onto Rea over the next few laps, although he now had Toseland and Camier to worry about just behind as well.

However, when Toseland planted a move on Corser at the final bend, Camier would promptly follow through just a few corners later, Corser watching his hopes of a podium result ebb away in the process.

Although a podium winner at Valencia himself, Toseland was continuing to perform above and beyond pre-weekend expectations, the Yamaha appearing more durable than it was last time out in Spain as the former champion began to apply pressure to Rea.

So much so that when Toseland was able to make an audacious move at the chicane for the lead with three laps remaining, the Briton being successful, but only briefly, when he ran slightly wide and enabled Rea to come back at him over the finish line.

Seemingly the motivation he needed to pick up the pace, Rea didn't waste time to allow Toseland to respond again and began to put the hammer down.

His cause was certainly aided by Camier's own endeavour to pass Toseland, the youngster spearing down the inside of the Yamaha at turn ten, but running wide to allow his rival back through.

Delaying themselves enough to ensure neither rider could reel Rea in, the Ten Kate man went on to finish the job for a third career WSBK victory on the team's home soil.

Forced to fight a rear guard action over the final two laps, Toseland maintained second to remind why he is a former double champion, while the rapidly improving Camier kept hold of third for the best result of his burgeoning career.

The battle for fourth went down to the wire, with Carlos Checa rising through the ranks after an anonymous first few laps to snatch the position. Benefitting when Corser and Smrz began to fade away, Checa was on Camier's tail come the chequered flag, suggesting he remains a threat for race two.

Although not quite the podium he was looking for, Corser posted another competitive result for BMW in fifth, ahead of Biaggi, whose quiet performance in sixth at least saw him reduce Haslam's advantage in the standings.

Following his earlier delay, Haslam would get caught up in a fierce battle for tenth position with several rivals, but could only progress to 11th place, the Suzuki man surrendering five points to Biaggi in the standings.

Just ahead, Smrz dropped to seventh at the chequered flag, while Cal Crutchlow and Shane Byrne completed solid results in eighth and ninth after lonely races.

Scraping into the top ten, Noriyuki Haga lost further ground to Ducati counterpart Checa in the overall standings with a run to tenth place, the Japanese rider only able to console him by coming out top in a fierce battle with Haslam, Tom Sykes, Michel Fabrizio and Sylvain Guintoli, the quartet finishing in that order between 11th and 14th.

Further back, Luca Scassa was the final point scorer in 15th aboard the Supersonic Ducati, while the hobbled Chris Vermeulen completed his first finish for Kawasaki, albeit down in 17th.

Max Neukirchner and Ruben Xaus, meanwhile, failed to score after suffering falls, the latter toppling off the BMW twice before eventually retiring.


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