Jonathan Rea’s dominance at Assen continued as the World Superbike champion marked his 200th race in fitting style by completing his third double victory of 2017.
It was the Ulster rider’s seventh straight win at the legendary circuit in the Netherlands but Rea had to dig deep to beat team-mate Tom Sykes, with less than one tenth of a second between them at the finish.
Chaz Davies, who was involved in a heated verbal exchange with Rea following qualifying on Saturday, finished third on the Aruba.it Ducati.
Rea has now won 11 times at Assen and only needs one more victory to match the record held by Carl Fogarty.
The 30-year-old charged through the field on his Kawasaki ZX-10RR after starting from ninth place on the grid and after just three laps, he moved into the lead ahead of fellow Northern Ireland rider Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia).
Sykes was giving chase and moved right onto the rear of Rea’s Kawasaki after he ran wide at turn 10, losing his one-second cushion.
The Yorkshire rider was unable to carve out a chance to make a pass but Sykes drew alongside Rea as they powered towards the line on the final lap to produce a thrilling photo-finish.
Rea got the verdict by 0.025 seconds and is now 64 points clear of Sykes as he bids to make history by winning the title for a third straight year.
Davies was some five seconds back in third ahead of Pata Yamaha riders Michael van der Mark and Alex Lowes.
Laverty was struggling for pace in the final laps and eventually salvaged eighth place on the Aprilia.
Imola in Italy hosts the fifth round of the championship from May 12-14.