Assen BSB: First win of 2017 for Guintoli

Picture: Impact Images

Former World Superbike champion, Sylvain Guintoli is the tenth different MCE British Superbike winner in 2017 and in the final race at Assen the Frenchman secured his maiden victory of the season, and on the new Bennetts Suzuki too.

In a repeat of the opening race it was a tight and exciting affair with the battle for the win going between five different racers. At the end of the 18 lappe,r Anvil Hire TAG Yamaha’s Josh Brookes grabbed second from rival, JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s Leon Haslam with the showdown pair completing the rostrum.

But it looked like Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne would take the win but he went wide with two laps remaining and had to finish in fifth, behind McAMS Yamaha’s James Ellison. With his third place finish Haslam extends his lead in the championship by 32 points.

Initially it was Byrne who got the hole-shot followed by Haslam and then Ellison. Then the McAMS bike got in front of Haslam to go into second. When it came to tyre choices Haslam stayed with his harder tyre options and Ellison followed suit with the SC2 and SC1 compounds. Byrne and Brookes opted for the softer option Pirelli’s.

On lap three Guintoli was up the sharp end once again and was battling with Haslam for third, with the Frenchman on the SC2 front but softer rear tyres, with Brookes close by in fifth. By the start of the fourth
rotation Byrne and Ellison pulled away from the dicing trio of Guintoli, Haslam and Brookes.

Meanwhile the other showdown riders started to take charge and Hickman went ahead of Dixon at the chicane to go into sixth. Brookes was also making head way on the R1 and snatched fourth at Geert Timmer from Haslam.

Then going into the opening corner Haslam slipped underneath Brookes to retake fourth, with Guintoli still in third. Further up the field Ellison made a clean move on Byrne at the chicane to lead the final race on lap
seven. With the leading duo fighting it out it meant that Guintoli crept up on the R1 and the Panigale and put his Suzuki into the mix.

Then Byrne got away and by lap nine started to push on ahead. On lap 12 of 18 coming out of the straight Guintoli overtook Ellison to go into second. With two laps remaining there were four riders abreast going into the first turn and Haslam and Byrne went wide allowing Guintoli, Ellison and Brookes to go ahead.

On the penultimate lap Haslam went back to second at Stekkenwal and with all that fisty cuffs happening further down the track it allowed Guintoli to soar on ahead going into the final lap. Brookes also managed to recompose himself and went into third and then on the right hander went into second.

Brookes found some extra speed and pulled away from Haslam to cement his second place at the flag, followed by Haslam, Ellison and Byrne. Seven seconds behind the leading five riders finished title chasers, Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman and RAF Reserves Kawasaki’s Jake Dixon.

Fellow showdown racer, Honda’s Jason O’Halloran appeared to struggle somewhat and finished in 13th, just behind, Iddon, Linfoot, Ray, Cooper and John Hopkins. Be Wiser Ducati’s Glenn Irwin and McAMS Yamaha’s Michael Laverty were the last of the points finishers.

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