Dutch delight: WorldSSP300’s Dutch stars prepare for first home round since 2019

Wednesday, 21 July 2021 05:51 GMT

Reigning Champion Jeffrey Buis is just one of a handful of home heroes returning to the Netherlands, with Buis competing on home soil for the first time as World Champion

The FIM Supersport 300 World Championship will roar back into life at the TT Circuit Assen for the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round with a number of home heroes competing at their home round after missing the opportunity to do so last year. One of these is reigning Champion Jeffrey Buis (MTM Kawasaki) who will be hoping his first race on home soil as a World Champion will be able to kickstart his title defence.

Buis currently lies ninth in the standings on 23 points, 49 behind teammate and Championship leader Adrian Huertas. With a best result of sixth so far in 2021, coming in the opening race of the season, Buis will be hoping he can kickstart his season in fine fashion on home soil and start closing the gap to his new teammate. Buis is not the only Dutchman to have a home round in 2021 with Victor Steeman (Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team), who showed strong pace last time out at Misano, Ruben Bijman (Machado CAME SBK), Koen Meuffels (MTM Kawasaki) and wildcards Thom Molenaar (Molenaar Racing Team) and teammate Sven Doornebal representing the Netherlands at Assen.

The top of the Championship as it stands is a close battle between Huertas and Tom Booth-Amos (Fusport – RT Motorsports by SKM – Kawasaki) with just seven points separating the pair. Out of four races so far in 2021, Huertas has claimed two wins and three podiums while Booth-Amos has one win and three podiums; although Booth-Amos comes into the Dutch Round on the back of a very costly late-race crash at Misano from the lead. Luckily for the Brit, Huertas also had his worst result of the season in the same race with tenth, keeping the title battle close between them.

Ana Carrasco’s (Kawasaki Provec WorldSSP300) remarkable comeback was topped off with victory in Race 2 at Misano after putting Booth-Amos under pressure heading into the final corner. Although Carrasco is 30 points behind Huertas in the standings, Carrasco has claimed three top-ten finishes at the TT Circuit Assen before and will be hoping to add to that record in 2021 to close the gap down even further.

Level on points with Carrasco is Yuta Okaya (MTM Kawasaki) after a strong start to the season for the Japanese rider. Okaya has stood on the podium once so far in 2021, in Race 1 at the Aragon Round, but two more fourth-place finishes mean he’s had a strong and consistent start to the campaign despite a retirement last time out at Misano. With his team enjoying their home race at Assen, Okaya will be looking to return to the rostrum once again and carry on his strong start.

After securing his maiden WorldSSP300 podium last time out at Misano, Meikon Kawakami (AD78 Team Brasil by MS Racing) hauled himself up the standings to lie in fifth place, just five points behind Carrasco and Okaya. The Japanese-born Brazilian rider has not raced at Assen in WorldSSP300 yet but, throughout his rookie season in 2020, showed strong pace at tracks that were completely new to him including a stunning pole position at Jerez. With the first podium in the bag, could Kawakami add more to his trophy cabinet at Assen?

Just two points behind Kawakami is Samuele Di Sora (Leader Team Flembbo) with the Frenchman also enjoying a trip to the rostrum in 2021 at Misano, when he secured third place in Race 2 to take his career tally to three. With two top-five finishes to his name so far in 2021, and not finishing outside the top ten when he has finished a race, the Frenchman will be hoping to carry on his fine start to the campaign at Assen. He lies just two points clear of Unai Orradre (Yamaha MS Racing), the youngest ever WorldSSP300 race winner with the Spanish rider claiming fourth and second on home soil at MotorLand Aragon, but will be looking to return to the points-paying positions at Assen following a retirement and a 22nd place finish at Misano.

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