WorldSSP – Tuuli takes debut victory in France
At the Pirelli French Round on Sunday Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) followed up on his first WorldSSP pole result on Saturday by winning the race at the 4.411km Magny-Cours track by 0.875s from second placed Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team). The podium was completed by American rider PJ Jacobsen (MV Agusta Reparto Corse).
Tuuli rode superbly on his Yamaha YZF R6 over the course of the 19 lap race in front of the French fans and although he came under pressure from fellow Yamaha-equipped rider Caricasulo in the final stages he held his nerve to take a career-first win in the series.
Jacobsen also performed well from ninth on the grid, making his way through the field for his third podium of the year on his MV Agusta – ultimately crossing the line 5.692s adrift of winner Tuuli.
Finishing the race in fourth place Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official WorldSSP Team) moved to the top of the WorldSSP championship standings by nine points from the absent Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) with two rounds remaining.
After Mahias in fourth his compatriot Jules Cluzel (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda) was the second best French finisher in fifth place. Cluzel just beat Italian pair Lorenzo Zanetti (Team Factory Vamag) and Michael Canducci (3570 Puccetti Racing FMI) to the line, whilst race-winner Tuuli’s Kallio Racing colleague Sheridan Morais was eighth.
Britons Kyle Smith (GEMAR Team Lorini) and Luke Stapleford (Profile Racing) rounded out the top ten.
Defending World Champion Sofuoglu unfortunately missed the race following a crash in Superpole at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours on Saturday. Suffering fractures to his hip, the Turkish rider was declared unfit at the Pirelli French Round and it was announced he would have to miss the race as he flies back to Turkey for surgery.
The next race is set to take place at the Pirelli Spanish Round over the 20th -22nd October weekend, the penultimate round of 2017.
Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) – P1
“I didn’t expect to win but ts been a really difficult season, until we got our new bikes , my riding was able to improve. I like this track and we were able to get a really good setting and we took the right tyre choice. I was able to ride consistent laps and I’m really happy. Thanks to everyone who has supported me”
Federico Caricasulo – P2
“I am happy! I pushed very hard for the whole of the race, probably a bit too much during the second half of the race, because I made a mistake while battling for the lead with Niki Tuuli and then I did not have the tyres left to re-catch him. It is always better to win but I am happy because I have found a good feeling with my R6 and with my team and I am very happy with this. Today, I could fight for the victory and I believe that we can do the same in the last two races because I now have everything I need. We made a small change in my team and with the way we work, so I am more confident. I think the next two races will be easier because of this and I cannot wait for Jerez!”
Lucas Mahias – P4
“It was an incredible race! For sure, I would have preferred to have finished on the podium at my home round in front of the French fans, but today was the same as a victory because at the beginning of the race, I didn’t have much confidence and I was in quite a bit of pain after my crash in FP3. I wasn’t even sure if it was possible to finish the race. At the start, I wanted to settle into a good rhythm but after the contact with another rider, I was down in 19th position. So, I thought, “Okay, stay calm,” and I pushed and pushed to close the gap to the guys at the front. I overtook a lot of riders and to finish in fourth with everything that happened is incredible. Honestly, I am very sorry for what has happened to Kenan. I would have much preferred to have been able to battle with him today and it is real shame for the championship and the fans. In my eyes, he is a legend in WorldSSP but this is racing and I am really, really sorry for him and I wish him a speedy recovery. The championship is still completely open and I think it could go all the way down to Qatar!”
FrenchWorldSBK – WorldSSP Race
- Niki Tuuli (FIN) Yamaha
- Federico Caricasulo (ITA) Yamaha +0.875
- PJ Jacobsen (USA) MV Agusta +5.692
WorldSSP Championship Standings Pirelli French Round
- Lucas Mahias 154 Yamaha
- Kenan Sofuoglu 145 Kawasaki
- Sheridan Morais 122 Yamaha
- Jules Cluzel 115 Honda
- PJ Jacobsen 95 MV Agusta
- Federico Caricasulo 80 Yamaha
- Niki Tuuli 63 Yamaha
- Kyle Smith 51 Honda
- Luke Stapleford 47 Triumph
- Anthony West 46 Yamaha
- Roberto Rolfo 43 Honda
- Kyle Ryde 43 Kawasaki
- Christian Gamarino 40 Honda
- Hikari Okubo 39 Honda
- Michael Canducci 37 Kawasaki
- Lorenzo Zanetti 28 MV Agusta
- Hannes Soomer 27 Honda
- Kazuki Watanabe 21 Kawasaki
- Decha Kraisart 20 Yamaha
- Rob Hartog 19 Kawasaki
- …22. Aiden Wagner 17 Honda
- …28. Lachlan Epis 10 Kawasaki