SBK World Championship in Assen: Rea and Bautista are the only race winners / Superbike World Championship

SBK World Championship in Assen: Rea and Bautista are the only race winners / Superbike World Championship

With the meeting in Assen, the 2024 Superbike World Championship finally resumes next weekend after a four-week break. What you should know about the famous race track in the Netherlands.

Assen is the capital of the Dutch province of Drenthe and is located approximately 180 km northeast of Amsterdam and 30 km south of Groningen. The city, which has about 66,000 inhabitants, has a long two-wheeled tradition and is well known outside the borders of the Netherlands as a center for motorcycle racing.

The first race was held in Assen as early as 1925, and there has been at least one World Championship race there every year since 1949. The World Superbike Championship has been in Assen since 1992 and has hosted 62 races since then – Phillip Island is the only and more (67).

The first race was held as a road race, a route through the towns of Borger, Schoonloo and Grollo. But as early as 1955, ‘TT Circuit Assen’ was built as a permanent race track, which inspires fans and drivers alike and is also known as ‘The Cathedral’.

The course was originally less than eight kilometers long, and in 2006 a major renovation took place. Since then, the route has been around 4.5 km. The course is specially designed for the needs of motorcycle racing. Some of his eleven left turns and six right turns are banked. The stadiums in the cathedral can accommodate around 100,000 spectators, and the atmosphere in Assen is always very special.

The TT circuit is known for its high speed and very quick changes of direction. On a winding track it is important for drivers to find a good rhythm. But be careful: if you approach too aggressively, you can quickly lose your rhythm and thus precious time. In addition, you drive a lot in a lean position and the big g-forces act experimentally. In general, the bike must be positioned so that it can perform well at the entrance of the curve. The fast track is generally interrupted by a hairpin bend where the motorcycle has to accelerate well. Other important points are the penultimate corner, where the bike should be stable, and the final chicane, where good brakes are needed.

Assen was the scene of many eventful races. Doug Polen took his first Superbike win in 1992 with a Ducati 888. Between 1993 and 1996 the winner was always Carl Fogarty, who won races with Ducati and Honda. The charismatic Englishman has a total of twelve race wins.

The most successful superbike pilot is Jonathan Rea who won 17 times on Honda and Kawasaki. Of the pilots alive, only Alvaro Bautista managed to get on the top podium – the Spaniard took all six of his victories on Ducati.

The most successful manufacturer is Ducati with 31 wins ahead of Honda and Kawasaki with 15 each.