MotorLand Aragon treated fans to the opening round of the European Superstock 1000 Championship, and it didn’t take long for us to establish who will be the riders to beat in 2017. Despite the unpredictable nature of the championship, dominance was the theme in Spain. In such a close-fought championship, the flowing character of the TT Circuit Assen will no doubt provide some stunning racing action.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Junior Team) leads the championship standings heading into the second round of the season, following a stunning display of dominance to open the season with. The Italian started the season on the best possible foot with his Ducati Panigale R, and now the paddock heads to Assen – where Rinaldi has a podium finishing history. The 21 year old will certainly be the rider with the target on his back in The Netherlands.

The Italian will be facing some stiff competition from Florian Marino (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team) and team-mate Roberto Tamburini (Pata Yamaha Official STK1000 Team), around a circuit which is notoriously favourable to the YZF-R1. The duo completed the podium in MotorLand after a lonely race for the pair, however a strong Sunday saw them improve on their pace from qualifying as they started from the second row.

Protégé of his compatriot Kenan Sofuoglu, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be hoping to emulate his success of 2015 when he took the victory in the European Superstock 600 series. Taking a top four finish in the opening race of 2017, the young Turk will be a talent to keep an eye on as we delve further into the season.

Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team) brings experience with him into the STK1000 Championship this year, and with a top five pace already the Italian is keen to improve. Looking to work through shoulder pain he is suffering with from a previous injury, a break will have helped Faccani. At a circuit that hasn’t been overly kind to the 21 year old in the past, will he be able to keep up his top five pace?

Lone Dutch rider in the STK1000 Championship, Wayne Tessels (Agro On-Benjan-Kawasaki) will have the home crowd support behind him and as we have seen at both Assen and in STK1000 – anything can happen.

Producing some phenomenal racing action, follow the European Superstock 1000 Championship with the WorldSBK VideoPass. Look back over past seasons or remind yourself of how the opening race of the season played out.