The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is at the TT Circuit Assen for the third round of the season. Friday was unpredictable on and off the track, with weather conditions causing chaos throughout Free Practice and the Tissot Superpole sessions for all classes. However, there were some very quick times put on the board from Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) as both riders’ attention moves towards a potential head-to-head battle.

Bautista ended Friday quickest overall after setting a remarkable 1’35.473 early in the session and now prepares for a battle at Assen on Saturday. The #1 set 26 laps across the day, improving on his time from Free Practice 1 by 0.798s in tricky conditions due to rain and wind. He was around two tenths clear ahead of his rivals, and just under 0.5s clear of teammate Nicolo Bulega.

Discussing what he expects from Assen and whether it’ll be a battle with Razgatlioglu, including the possibility of another last-lap scrap, Bautista said: “From this season, you can expect everything! There are a lot of battles and always the last chicane is a real hot point in races, especially when you have lots of riders in the same lap times. I expect some battles and some manoeuvres at the last chicane.”

Razgatlioglu was hot on the pace throughout Friday, with the #54 ending Free Practice 1 quickest and finishing just 0.277s behind Bautista. Razgatlioglu set 30 laps across the two sessions and now sets his sights on a maiden victory at Assen in the WorldSBK class. The #54 also heads into this weekend with confidence after becoming a BMW race winner in Catalunya.

When asked if it would be a head-to-head victory, Toprak said: “Maybe we will see, I am ready to attack at the last corner, I like the last and first corner at this track, the last corner especially. Everyone is really fast, but I hope I am not passed on the last corner, the last lap. My plan, if everything feels good, is to ride alone, but we will see if the feeling is good, and the motivation is very high. I am ready for a fight or to ride alone, we will see.”

However, there is still plenty of drama to unfold with Superpole still to take place before the lights go out for Race 1 on Saturday afternoon.

Will it be Bautista vs Razgatlioglu at Assen, or will others join the fight? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!


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