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Jonathan Rea eased to his fifth win of 2015 after pulling clear of Chaz Davies in the closing stages of the first World Superbike race at Assen.

The championship leader produced the fastest lap of the race two laps from the chequered flag during an inspired end of the race to command his sixth race win around the Dutch circuit.

Rea's winning margin was just over one second but in truth he was engaged in a race-long battle with Davies, as the pair broke clear of Michael van der Mark and Leon Haslam who fought it out for third.

Home fans were treated to the sight of a Dutchman climbing the podium for the first time in World Superbike history after van der Mark got the verdict on Haslam to score his debut podium in the series.

Early on six riders were in the first breakaway group with Tom Sykes and Xavi Fores also showing strongly at the front in the first half of the 21-lap race. As was the case in Aragon, Sykes was able to run his team-mate's pace early on but had no answer for the front four as the race ran its course.

The Yorkshire rider was one of four riders to surge clear of the pack as he sat behind the fast-starting Rea and ahead of Davies and Haslam on lap one. Having got a terrible jump off the line, van der Mark quickly recovered to sixth by lap two and set about reeling in Fores, who had tagged himself on to the back of the leading British quartet.

The Dutchman made his intentions known by passing Fores, Haslam and Davies in quick succession, the last of which came at the Geert Timmer chicane on lap five. Davies was quick to return the favour however, mid-way around the following lap.

By lap nine the Welshman had dispatched with Sykes to go second as Rea was content to forge his own pace at the front. Davies and team-mate Fores had gone with Pirelli's A-compound rear tyre, despite the firm's warnings that it wasn't suited to the cooler morning temperatures.

Yet he was the only man to go with Rea as Sykes fell back to fifth, thanks to an aggressive van der Mark move at Strubben. The Englishman was unable to respond and soon lost close to a second to the leaders.

As Rea and Davies maintained their pace in the low 1m 36s, van der Mark was left to compete with Haslam for the final podium spot. The Pata Honda rider would make the decisive move at the fast right-left flick at Ramshoek in the final three laps.

A repeat of Rea and Davies' memorable Aragon scrap was on the cards until the Northern Irishman made his pace on worn tyres pay to keep the Ducati man at bay.

Behind Jordi Torres caught and passed Xavi Fores for sixth place whil reigning world champion Sylvain Guintoli could only manage eighth. The Frenchman was another rider to choose Pirelli's A compound rear and showed some early speed to close in on Torres until he eventually faded.

At the bottom of the top ten Nico Terol overcame Leon Camier in a race long battle for ninth position. The pair pulled away from Ayrton Badovini, who eventually retired, and Leandro Mercado in the early laps to score impressive top ten finishes.

There was further disappointment for both Voltcom Crescent Suzukis as they bizarrely suffered bad fortune at the same corner on the same lap. Alex Lowes was running fifth in the first two laps before a mechanical problem dropped him back to 13th.

The Englishman was running ahead of team-mate Randy de Puniet on lap eight when he ran off track. Behind, de Puniet fell, his GSX-R1000 flying through the gravel trap.



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