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WSS Assen: Lowes outsmarts Sofuoglu for Assen win

28 April 2013

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Sam Lowes has taken a rewarding first World Supersport win of the season at Assen after prevailing in an intriguing battle of wills between himself and arch rival Kenan Sofuoglu.

A tussle that lasted from lights-to-flag, both Lowes and Sofuoglu would take turns out front as both seemed reluctant to take on the role of pace setter, the pair priming themselves for what would become an intense final lap showdown.

From the start, a strong getaway by Sofuoglu would see the Turk lead the way initially, only for a mistake into turn one to allow the close-following Lowes in front. Despite this, Lowes would simply drop back behind his rival on lap twelve of 21 with a view to holding station behind Sofuoglu until the critical moment.

Swapping the lead twice more heading into the final lap, Lowes would find himself leading the way before Sofuoglu pulled the pin with a dive up the inside at Ruskenhoek mid-way around the lap.

However, as is often the case at Assen, the race would come down to the iconic final chicane at Geert Timmer, Lowes defying Sofuoglu's attempts to hold the inside line to dive into the smallest gap beneath the Kawasaki. Holding firm without running wide, though Sofuoglu would get a run on Lowes as they sprinted to the finish line, the Briton would hold out to win by a mere 0.026secs.

An important physiological win for Lowes over a rider he has struggled to beat in a straight fight in the past, the result also marks a massive landmark for the Russian-based Yakhnich Yamaha team a year on from securing its first WSS podium at the same circuit.

Even so, despite their efforts, Lowes and Sofuoglu's problems at Aragon mean they are still chasing Fabien Foret at the head of the standings, the Frenchman rallying with the leaders mid-race before fading to a lonely third position.

Almost 20 seconds down the road, Michael van der Mark put a disappointing qualifying behind him to turn in an excellent run to fourth aboard the Pata Honda, the home hope scything his way up the order to score a result that keeps him second in the standings behind Foret.

Subbing for the injured David Salom, Florian Marino put in a good case to retain a full-time ride in the World Supersport Championship with a fine run to fifth, the Intermoto Kawasaki rider benefiting from team-mate Luca Scassa crashing out in front of him towards the end of the race.

Behind him, Roberto Rolfo gave ParkinGO MV Agusta its best result since its return in sixth position, the Italian recovering from a poor start that dropped him from fifth on the grid to 13th initially to catch and pass Jack Kennedy, who on the contrary couldn't quite build on a bright start that had him up to third place early on.

Following crashes in the opening two races of the season, Kev Coghlan kept it upright for a solid run to eighth place, ahead of Italian duo Andrea Antonelli and Lorenzo Zanetti.

Though just missing out on a top ten result, 11th place marks Christian Iddon's first-ever WSS points on the second of the MV Agustas, while Lowes's team-mate Vladimir Leonov, Massimo Roccoli, Riccardo Russo and Vladimir Ivanov rounded out the points.