Jonathan Rea has taken a third consecutive World Superbike victory at Assen after a calm and measured ride to keep Max Biaggi
and Carlos Checa
Twelve months on from winning both races around the Dutch circuit, Rea shrugged off his fifth place starting position to push his way to the front on lap three before resisting the race-long attentions of Biaggi.
A strong start was crucial to Rea and Biaggi's victory bid, both riders slotting in behind pole sitter Carlos Checa, who got the getaway he needed to lead into the first corner funnel.
Though the pair shuffled one another in lap two, Rea would eventually emerge ahead of Biaggi into turn one on lap three before launching past Checa further around the lap to nose into the lead.
Biaggi gave chase by passing Checa himself on lap four before grabbing the lead on lap six as he utilised the strength of the Aprilia's speed down the back straight. Despite this, Rea stayed cool and merely snatched back the position in the ensuing corners.
It would prove to be the defining moment of the race, Rea never being headed again as Biaggi simply shadowed the Honda, rather than prepared a determined attack.
It meant Rea was able to edge his winning margin to seven tenths as they crossed the finish line for a victory that marks his third consecutive win at Assen, a seventh career WSBK victory and a first win for the iconic Castrol Honda moniker since its return to Superbike racing.
While Rea and Biaggi had it relatively easy as they pulled away from their rivals, it was a busier first race of the day for the large chasing pack.
Having been demoted to third position, Checa was shuffled back again on lap six by Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty, who hauled their way up to the lead group with an early charge seemingly indicative of their choosing a softer Pirelli tyre.