On a tricky opening day at a wind swept TT Circuit Assen it was Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) who set the pace. The weather changed multiple times throughout the day with rain giving way to sunshine before reverting back to rain once again. Bautista, winner of the last four Superbike races at the Dutch Round, completed 26 laps of the 4.555km circuit to end the day two tenths of a second faster than Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).

Having not changed to new tyres until moments before a rain shower the BMW rider was one of the few riders not to improve their lap time from the morning session in the afternoon. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) ended the day third fastest.

Championship leader Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) is riding for the first time since undergoing surgery for compartment syndrome and was sixth fastest. The Italian was less than half a second slower than his teammate Bautista. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) was fifth fastest in both sessions but completed just 18 laps over the course of the day. The changeable conditions limited running and the six times World Champion will be hoping for a change of fortunes after a difficult start to the season. Rea is a 17 times winner at the Dutch Round. Home hero Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was ninth fastest.

P1 | Alvaro Bautista | Aruba.it Racing – Ducati
“It has been a complicated day because of the weather. With the rain and the wind, especially in the afternoon, it was difficult. The wind was very strong on the back straight and you could feel it pushing you out wide. On the straight I was almost leaning because otherwise I would be pushed wide of the track. It was really difficult in some areas of the track. But in the end, with these conditions, I could find a good feeling with the bike. It feels similar for me to Barcelona. Today was really difficult for everybody and I’m not super happy but we’ll see what happens with the weather tomorrow.”

P2 | Toprak Razgatlioglu | ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
“The bike is turning well but the braking is not yet 100%. We are working on this now with the engine braking too. The electronics are working great and in general, I’m happy. I had a used tyre at the start of FP2 and when I put in a new tyre it started to rain after two laps and then there was the red flag. I didn’t improve my lap in FP2 but the feeling is very good. We are very fast and the grip from the track is really good. It’s not easy in WorldSBK because everyone is very fast but I’m ready for the fight and for the win. We are ready to race in all conditions.”

P3 | Remy Gardner | GYRT GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team
“Today wasn’t easy. This morning there were a lot of damp patches but the condition wasn’t too bad. We did 15 laps and our pace was good. During FP2 we stopped and changed to the SCX tyre and the feeling was good. Obviously, we wanted to make a long run to see what the times would be like but then we had some rain. The feeling was quite good. There’s still some work to do but I’m quite happy.”

WorldSBK Combined Results after FP2

1. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’35.473s
2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.211s
3. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.354s
4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) +0.446s
5. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.449s
6. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.468s

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