The Assen WorldSSP race was a generally positive experience for the entire Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team, with both riders part of the extended leading group for significant parts of the race at this classically sculpted 4.542km circuit.
After snow fell on Saturday it was still cold on raceday, but also dry and sunny, making for consistent track conditions for Mahias to show his aggression and race craft. Gaining and losing on the leading group in different areas of the circuit, Lucas would eventually finish fifth, but only 1.277 seconds from the race winner.
Hikari battled with his team-mate for a while and only just dropped of as the laps unfolded, after experiencing chatter from the front end. He ended up as the middle rider in a three man fight for sixth, having recovered better pace late in the race.
For Okubo seventh today leaves him fifth in the points, with Mahias rising to seventh overall. Hikari has 37 points and Lucas 32.
After Assen the championship returns to action at Imola in Italy. Raceday for the WorldSSP riders will be Sunday the 12th of May.
Lucas Mahias stated: “The feeling from this race is that one thing is good and one thing not so good. I am happy because I followed the leading group closely and the gap to first position is very small. But I am a little bit disappointed because it is difficult in some places on the track. When I exit turn four, I lose on that sector and then I have to push very hard in the third and fourth sectors to come back. I finished every lap just behind, lap after lap. So I realised that it would be impossible to win, but I continued to push in case I could get onto the podium somehow. I am happy because the feeling on the bike is really great and the chassis is perfect. I got a good feeling back at this race and that is very good for the future. Thanks to the team because race-after-race they improve the set-up.”
Hikari Okubo, stated: “After the start I had a good feeling with my bike but after eight or nine laps I had a problem braking, with some chatter. After that it was not possible to get back to the top group after the chatter appeared. I had to adjust my riding style and it was so difficult to make this adjustment so quickly, but in the last few laps I found a good lap time again. If no problem today it was possible to get to the front group again. I never had a championship point from this track before, so I am thinking positively about my seventh position at Assen.”
Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team Kawasaki) was a delighted ninth at his home circuit, easily his best result so far, leaving him 14th in the championship points. Ayrton Badovini (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) was 11th despite suffering from a flu, and sits 17th overall in the points.
Another local rider Rob Hartog (Team Hartog – Against Cancer Kawasaki) was 14th, scoring two points. Kyle Smith (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) fell after a clash with Hartog and no scored. He still leads the FIM Europe Supersport standings.