Three rounds, three winners so far in the FIM Supersport World Championship, and its Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) who leads the way in the unpredictable series so far. Now the paddock heads to the legendary TT Circuit Assen for Round Four, a track which is notorious for providing close, unpredictable racing action. Last year produced strong levels of drama as rain hit the Dutch track which led to the race being red flagged, but new regulations in place for 2017 mean WorldSSP now has flag to flag races, so all this could change for 2017.
High winds around MotorLand Aragon for Round Three didn’t slow WorldSSP riders down, and despite a crash which saw returning World Champion Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) score no points so far in 2017, the quality of on track action was second to none. What will Round Four produce?
Mahias planned his win to perfection in the Pirelli Aragon Round and is beginning to show signs of a true championship contender, despite missing out on points in Thailand. The Frenchman took a second position in Australia and following his first victory, knows he now has what it takes to be up and running at the front. With a strong history around the circuit – Mahias’ two WorldSBK appearances have been in The Netherlands – he will understandably be heading there with a good feeling on his Yamaha machine.
Sheridan Morias (Kallio Racing) narrowly missed out on the victory around MotorLand Aragon, despite putting in his best efforts in the hotly contested fight. With his sporadic riding style, the South African was up and fighting from the first lap. With a tough record around the Cathedral it will be a challenge Morias to be up and fighting; however with the backing of his Yamaha YZR-R6 he will certainly have the right machine to help him push for the victory.
Sitting in fourth in the championship standings is young British rider Kyle Ryde (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who has been taking his time to adjust to the Kawasaki ZX-6R in the hotly competitive series. Team-mate to reigning champion Kenan Sofuolgu, Ryde has secured some consistent finishes in 2017, the 19 year old is only missing out on that all important podium finish. With a limited racing history in The Netherlands, he will spend another weekend learning and understanding the circuit.
Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) has a strong racing history around The Cathedral, and the Finn will be looking to build on his lone podium finish in 2017 as he sits in the top five in the World Championship. With a victory and second position to his name in the now former European Superstock 600 series, Tuuli will be one to keep an eye on as his levels of confidence build.
On top of the previous front runners, World Supersport offers a handful of riders who could produce some heroics throughout the race weekends, and riders not to forget. Roberto Rolfo (Team Factory Vamag) sits in second position in the championship standings following his Phillip Island heroics, and the Italian has so far kept up a consistent run into 2017. Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) will be a rider to watch out for around Assen with a strong history around the circuit, he will certainly be out with a point to prove following his DNF at the Pirelli Aragon Round. Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) hasn’t had the start to the season he would have hoped for, with just 13 points scored so far in 2017, which were achieved last time out at MotorLand Aragon. PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was able to take his first podium of the season last time out as he slowly adjusts to the Italian machine, which has caused him some issues so far in 2017.
Take a look back over the WorldSSP races around the TT Circuit Assen with the WorldSBK VideoPass, and relive some of the excitement around the historic track.