Tuuli Battles for the points at Mugello

In only his second Moto2 race of the year, SIC Racing Team rider Niki Tuuli, showed outstanding improvement as he battled for the points in today’s Italian Grand Prix.

Just missing out on the fight for fourteenth, Niki crossed the line in a respectable 16th place.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“Niki did a very good race here today. He has closed the gap to the front a lot since Le Mans and in only his second race with the team, is very good. He’s getting better and better and we can see that he is really taking on board everything we tell him and what we change on the bike; he is improving his times every session. Today he had a few good fights with the riders around him battling for the points; this was great to see. We were very close to the points; he was fighting for fourteenth place. That would have been great but still we are very satisfied with Niki’s performance. The gap to the front is a lot better. We will keep working. Tomorrow we have a test here with him, so for Barcelona, hopefully we can take another step forward.”

#66 NIKI TUULI – P17

“I’m really happy with what we did in the race today. This morning I struggled a little bit during the Warm Up because for me its still really difficult to find the smooth riding; my style is a little bit too aggressive in the wrong places. The best thing about it, is that I know where I need to improve so that we can make progress. In the race the first five to six laps were quite difficult whilst I found my rhythm, but after that I was able to find my pace, relax and start to pass people. The points were really close today and this is just my second race, so I’m happy about this. We improved our gap to the front in the race by more than fifteen seconds, compared to Le Mans, so it’s been a good end to the weekend. Of course we need to be closer, but it takes time. We can see we are making progress and going in the right direction, so this is the main thing. It was great to be in the fight for the points today and I had some good battles with the other riders for this. I’m so happy to be here and how everything is going; this is my dream. I just want to keep improving!”

 

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Petronas Sprinta Racing conclude Italian Grand Prix

Today’s Italian Grand Prix saw PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders Ayumu Sasaki and Adam Norrodin conclude the weekend with a bitter end, despite looking set to make it their best Grand Prix of the year.

Heroically qualifying on the front row after suffering a big crash during Saturdays Free Practice three, seventeen-year-old Sasaki endured a challenging 20 lap race. The Japanese rider relentlessly pushed through increased pain in his foot and a deteriorating engine performance, to cross the line in 16th place, just missing out on the points.

Making a big step during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, teammate Adam Norrodin made a solid start from eighth place on the grid. Immediately launching himself into six position, Norrodin looked in strong form, when a small mistake brought a premature end to the Malaysian’s race, crashing out on the third lap.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“We’ve made very good progress this weekend from the last three rounds; both riders have improved their practice and qualifying. We could see that both Adam and Ayumu had a strong race pace here, so we were confident going into todays GP. With Ayumu starting from the front row, he had a great opportunity to go with the front group. He made a good start and was immediately fighting with the top five. Unfortunately the top three riders broke away and he got swallowed up by the group behind him; from that point we knew it would be difficult for him, because when you have to fight so much in a group, with so many riders, you have to be 100% fit to be able to pass and stay in the front. It was very hard for Ayumu to do this today, especially with his injury; It was not easy for him. It’s a shame he couldn’t finish with some points. For Adam, he also made a very good step this weekend and we are very happy for that. He was very upset after the qualifying because he felt that he could have done more. For the race he made a great start from eighth place and was immediately in the second group with Ayumu. On lap three he had a very big high-side and his race was over. He was pushing hard and he said he felt good; when you are on the limit like that, these things can happen, its just unfortunate. Nevertheless this weekend has been a boost for him and his confidence is back, so we just have to keep working and come back fighting in Barcelona.”

#7 ADAM NORRODIN – DNF
“I was really motivated for this race today; I made a good start from 8th place and felt strong. I was up to 6th place on the third lap but then going into the third corner, Canet passed me so tightly; I had to pick my bike up a little to try and save myself, but then as soon as I went to get some lean angle again, the bike made a massive high-side. I am so disappointed because I have felt so confident this weekend and was expecting a really good result here. It’s such a shame because we had the pace and the opportunity to get some really good points today. I’m sorry that I could not do this for my team. I will try even harder at the next race.”

#71 AYUMU SASAKI – P16
“When I woke up this morning I had a little bit more pain in my foot because I hadn’t had any pain killers during the night. We went out and I tried to make some laps to check the bike, but unfortunately in the first corner when I had to shift down five gears I struggled with my foot and I ended up going straight on into the gravel; we then couldn’t finish the warm up. At that moment I knew the race was going to be difficult. The team have been working so hard and the bike has been working really well, so I just wanted to make a good race for them. I made a good start to the race and I tried to follow the first three riders but unfortunately I made a big mistake in turn two which caused me to loose the leaders. – I dropped back into the second group. For the first ten laps I had a good feeling on the bike and could pass many riders in the braking. I tried to stay with the top four of my group. The race was going well until the half-way point when my foot started to hurt more. I also started to notice that my engine performance was declining, and I could no longer hold my position on the straight. Six riders would pass me, then I would manage to pass maybe three back in the corners, but each lap I would have the same problem, so I really struggled to progress through the pack, so kept dropping further back. On the last lap I tried so hard to get back into the points; I managed to pass three riders going into the last corner but then in the drag to the line I was pushed back to 16th. I’m really disappointed because we had such a good opportunity to do well here starting from the front row. Anyway now we have to go away and see what happened with the bike. It was still a good experience to start from the front row, so I’m happy for this. I have gained a lot more confidence this weekend. I will try again in Barcelona.”

 

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Italian GP

Autodromo del Mugello, 2018








































 

 

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Italian GP

Autodromo del Mugello, 2018












































































 

 

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Petronas Sprinta Racing aiming to make solid progress at Mugello

As round six of the Moto3 World Championship beckons, PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders Adam Norrodin and Ayumu Sasaki have their sights firmly set on improvement, following a trio of difficult Grand Prix’s.

After qualifying in 25th place and finishing in an impressive 8th position at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, Ayumu Sasaki will be looking to capitalise on his experience gained since his debut year in the Moto3 class.
Feeling determined to make amends for recent results, teammate Adam Norrodin returns to Europe revived and re-energised following a week of training back home in Malaysia.

#7 ADAM NORRODIN
“After Le Mans the team gave me the opportunity to go home to Malaysia and spend some time with my family and to relax myself after struggling three races in a row. I have been riding quite a lot at home and I feel a lot more focussed on my goals now. It’s been really good to come back to Malaysia and reset my head. Mugello is one of the longest circuits on the calendar; it’s a beautiful place and the atmosphere is always amazing, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s not been my strongest track in the past, but we have good data for it which I know will help us to start in the right way. I will be focussing a lot on myself this weekend; I feel that I am missing some things that I really need to work harder on. I want to come back stronger in Mugello and prove that I can be competitive again.”

#71 AYUMU SASAKI
“I’m very ready for the race at Mugello. I think there will be a lot of riders in the front group because the track is really long and quite difficult to slipstream. Last year I did quite well at Mugello; I love the track, its so fun, so I’ve been waiting for this race since the start of the year. I’m very happy to be going back to Italy. The last three rounds have been very tough for me but I think things will come better now. I think if I can put everything I have learned recently together, we can do very well. The bike is working very well and my mindset has changed quite a bit recently. I’m a lot better after my crash at Le Mans too, so things are looking up. I hope that I can bring it all together and make a big step this weekend. We are capable of so much more than we have shown recently; the team are working so hard to help me, so I just want to repay them with a good result. I will try my best to finish in a good way.”

 

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SIC Racing Team motivated for Mugello

Following a successful debut into the SIC Racing Team, Niki Tuuli is ready and raring to get back on track at the Autodromo del Mugello this weekend.

The Finnish newcomer to Moto2 made an impressive first impression last time out in Le Mans, showing consistent improvement throughout the weekend and just missing out on a top twenty finish in his first ever race within the tough intermediate class.

With one race under his belt, Tuuli is positive that he can take what he learned in France to make another step closer towards the top fifteen.

Situated in the picturesque countryside of Tuscany, the Gran Premio d’Italia is one of the most popular events of the season. At 5.2km long it is also one of the longest tracks on the calendar, consisting of six left-hand and nine-right hand corners. The technical layout combines a mixture of slow and fast turns with sweeping curves, long straights and off-camber corners, challenging both the riders and their engineers.

#66 Niki Tuuli
“I have been training a lot since Le Mans because the races in Moto2 are a lot longer than what I’m used to in Supersport, so it’s physically harder. However, I have been jogging, cycling and riding Supermotard, so I do feel more prepared going into this next race. Mugello will be another new track for me, so I have been watching last years races there a lot. I wanted to try and at least visually learn the track, so I know what to expect. For me its always been quite easy to learn new tracks but of course to do it on a new bike and be fast is quite challenging -this is one goal for the weekend; I want to learn it quickly and get up to speed quicker. My main aim is to make consistent progress; to be better again and keep improving –every time I go out on the track I want to be better in every area that I can. I want to be much closer to the top than what I did in Le Mans. I feel positive because at least now I know a little bit more about the bike and what its going to be like, so I’m really looking forward to this second race. I can’t wait to see the team again and get to work!”

 

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Niki Tuuli makes positive debut with SIC Racing Team at Le Mans

Making his first ever appearance in the Moto2 World Championship, SIC Racing Team rider Niki Tuuli made a solid first impression within the intermediate class, as he fought his way through to a respectable 22nd place.

Despite being faced with the enormous challenge of a new team, new bike, new tyres and a track he’d never been too, Niki Tuuli impressed with his ability to take on the task at hand.

Working hard throughout the weekend, the Finnish rider adapted well to his new environment, showing consistent improvement on board his Kalex machine, before concluding the weekend just outside of the top twenty.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“This was the first time for Niki to ever be on a Moto2 bike and also the first time in Le Mans, first time meeting the team, first time on Dunlop tyres, so many things different and for sure the difference between a Supersport bike to a Moto2 bike is huge. I think throughout the weekend he has done a very good job because he has been progressing every session; only qualifying was a bit disappointing – he would have liked to do better. In the race he did very well; he made a good start and was fighting with other riders. He fought his way through the field and in these conditions, because it was hot the tyres were losing grip very quickly, so he had to adapt himself for that. To finish 48 seconds off the front in the first race, is a good start. We look forward to continuing with Niki; we can see all the potential in him and know that he will progress throughout the next coming races.”

#66 NIKI TUULI – P22
“I was really nervous before the race because the qualifying wasn’t so good and my riding didn’t feel so relaxed and comfortable. In the race I made quite a good start, even though I’d only practiced it a couple of times. The first two laps went well and then after that I just tried to ride without making any mistakes. I’m pleased that I only made one mistake, on the third last lap, which is when Kent got past me. It was quite a good race and every lap time was similar but I need to learn how to be much faster. Anyway, this is just my first race and everything is new; the bike, the tyres, the track, so I know the more experience I get on this bike and the more I learn, the better I can do. The bike is working really well, I just need to improve my own riding then we can make another step. I’m just really happy to have this opportunity. I’m so happy to be here with this team, its incredible!”

 

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Petronas Sprinta Racing Ayumu Sasaki fights through the field in France

Starting from the eighth row, PETRONAS Sprinta Racing rider Ayumu Sasaki fought his way through the field, to conclude today’s French Grand Prix in a respectable 16th place.

Despite riding with an injury following a high-side in Free Practice One, the Japanese rider put aside a difficult qualifying that saw him start from 24th place, to battle his way through from the back of the grid and into the fight for the points.

Teammate Adam Norrodin experienced a bitter end to an already tough weekend for the Malaysian. After qualifying in 26th place, Norrodin continued to struggle to find his rhythm around the French circuit leaving him unable to make any headway on his position. With one lap to go Norrodin collided with another rider, crashing out just before the chequered flag.

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“We had a very difficult qualifying yesterday with both riders, so of course a very difficult race today. Warm Up was pretty good and both Adam and Ayumu were faster than in Qualifying. Starting from the back you have to be really aggressive and really strong, which is something we are missing at the moment. Ayumu did quite a decent race; he made his way through to the second group fighting for eleventh position. He was there but he struggled to win his battle; it’s a shame because in the end we weren’t far off from scoring quite good points here. With Adam its been a very difficult weekend from the start and now we have to really check what’s going on because we are not performing as we should with him. We need to have a big discussion and look at what we can do to improve the results. “

#7 ADAM NORRODIN – DNF
“I really feel disappointed. Qualifying yesterday was not very good and also the crash didn’t help but this is not an excuse for me – I should have done better this weekend. My start in the race was not that good either and this is normally a strong point for me. I had a few fights with Lopez but I wasn’t strong enough and I didn’t have the pace to come back to the group ahead. I ended up with just one other rider at the back. In the final lap I tried to overtake him into the last corner but I think we touched and I lost the rear tyre. I’m so sorry to my team. I should be so much stronger than this. Now I need to know figure out what I need to do to improve myself.”

#71 AYUMU SASAKI – P16
“Today’s warm up was really good and I tried to make a pace for the race. My foot didn’t have as much pain as it did on Friday and Saturday and my lap time was already better than in qualifying, so I felt confident going into the race. At the start of the race I tried really hard to get up to the front as much as possible, but after the first lap the front group was gone and the second group was around four seconds in front of me. I focussed on this; I found my rhythm and worked my way up to them. My lap times were good and I was almost one second faster than in qualifying. It’s a shame that I made a mistake in qualifying because if I had started from a better position I could have finished a lot higher up today. Our average lap time today was similar to the top group, so we are not losing too much in terms of consistency during the race, so really I have to improve my qualifying. The bike was working really well today too, so thanks to my team for this and sorry for my result. I now need to go away and get fully recovered so that I can push hard and fight in the points at Mugello.”

 

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Petronas Sprinta Racing re-energized and raring to tackle Le Mans

Following a difficult weekend in Jerez, PETRONAS Sprinta Racing riders Adam Norrodin and Ayumu Sasaki are geared up and ready to tackle Le Mans with renewed determination.

Located 200km from Paris, the unique French circuit combines many first gear corners and fast straights. Its stop-and-go characteristics make late braking and hard acceleration performance crucial for a good set up.

#7 ADAM NORRODIN
“Le Mans is a great track; I have good confidence there. This year I feel a lot stronger both in myself and with the bike, which is working well. At Le Mans you need to be really strong on the brakes, which is something I feel very confident with on this bike, so I’m really looking forward to this GP. Since Jerez I have been training very hard in Spain; we have been riding a lot, so hopefully I can step up my game and improve my results a lot more this weekend. I want to take back points in Le Mans, this is the number one priority; push hard and finish strong.”

#71 AYUMU SASAKI
“I’m very excited to get back on track this weekend. I like the track at Le Mans, I just hope that the weather stays nice for us, because in the wet it can be a bit tricky. My aim for Le Mans is to focus every single lap during the weekend and really work hard to improve my performance. I have to believe more in myself and do better; I must push harder and never give up. Every session I must improve. I have to work harder than ever before during qualifying and really push to start the race in a good position. Then on Sunday I have to fight throughout the whole race.”

 

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Niki Tuuli joins SIC Racing Team in Moto2

SIC Racing Team can today announce that Finnish rider Niki Tuuli has joined the Moto2 team and will make his debut on board the 600cc Kalex machine in Le Mans this weekend.

The twenty two year-old from Imatra in Finland, will contest the Moto2 Championship in replace of Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who decided to end his Moto2 career in order to concentrate more on his mentor role within the SIC-backed ‘Impian ke MotoGP’ programme.

Niki Tuuli enters the World Championship with an impressive racing background to date.

Riding minimotos from the age of nine, Niki’s progress led him to ride a 600cc bike for the first time in 2012 in the IDM Yamaha R6 Cup, a competition that he would end up winning.
In 2013 he would make the move up to the European SuperStock600 series, where over the course of three seasons he would claim five podiums and one victory, achieving fourth place overall in 2014 as best result.

2016 was also a noteworthy year for the Finn. After putting his sporting career on the backburner with the disappearance of the European SuperStock600 series and having to undertake mandatory military service in Finland, he participated as a wildcard at three of the final four SuperSport World Championship races, taking the podium in all of them. He also won the Finnish Championship that year.

His brilliant appearances in WorldSSP earned him an opportunity to compete as a full time rider for the 2017 season. Under the tutelage of Vesa Kallio (brother of Mika Kallio), Tuuli took two podiums and one pole position during that year, finishing 7th overall.

In 2018 he has participated in five WorldSSP races (he is currently 8th in the overall standings), before receiving the proposal from SIC Racing Team to start an exciting challenge together in the Moto2 World Championship.

 

#66 Niki Tuuli
“First of all I want say thanks to SIC Racing Team for this opportunity. I’m really excited and looking forward to this upcoming challenge. Moto2 has been one of my dreams and now it’s a reality. I’ve been riding 600cc bike’s since 2012; the first six years with Yamaha and now this season I’ve been riding with Honda. Obviously Moto2 is different to Supersport but the SIC Racing Team is a good team with lots of experience, so with their help I believe I can adapt well to the Moto2 class. I have only a little experience with Kalex. I got a chance to try it at the end of 2016. I’m now anxiously waiting to ride it again. I know Kalex is excellent, so I’m really thrilled to get this ride. Everything will be new for me at Le Mans, the track, the bike and the team, so I need to go step by step. Now it’s not about any pressure, I just want to learn all the new things properly. Of course I want to do the best result I can and perform as well as possible, but at the same time I need to be patient and focus on adapting to the Moto2 class every lap and every session.”

Johan Stigefelt – Team Manager
“Niki has great experience in the Supersport World Championship and has been riding 600cc bikes for a long time, so we believe that he can adapt well to the Moto2 bike. It’s a big step of course but it’s a great opportunity for him and we will help him all the way with the experience from this team. He is young and hungry and he want’s to prove himself, so it’s the perfect time for him to do this. We are all going to work hard from all aspects and do the best we can. It will probably take a few races before he’s up to speed, but we know that and everyone will be patient for this. At the same time we are experienced enough to give him a good bike immediately. Let’s see at Le Mans; it’s a new track for Niki, team and bike but I’m hopeful that we can make steady progress throughout the weekend.”

 

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MotoGP Sorrow Column 21/…(starring E.Watson & L….

MotoGP Sorrow Column 21/…
(starring E.Watson & L. Mann)

Zulfahmi Khairuddin ends tenure as SIC Racing Team Moto2 rider

SEPANG, 8th MAY 2018 – SIC Racing Team and rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin will part ways in the Moto2 World Championship after mutual agreement, effective immediately.

After four races in the 2018 season, Zulfahmi, the former Moto3 and World Supersport Championship rider, has made a decision – supported by the team – to not continue in the super competitive Moto2 championship.

“After the last race in Jerez, I find it very difficult for me to make any sort of improvement in my results since the start of the season. After careful thought and deep discussion with the team, I decided that it was best for me to end my Moto2 career,” said Zulfahmi.

“I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to those involved, especially to SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali and team manager Johan Stigefelt for their trust in giving me a chance to compete in the Moto2 championship.

“I am very sorry to the team and sponsors if this decision has come in an abrupt way,” he added.

Zulfahmi was announced as a replacement for Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah – who was signed to ride for MotoGP outfit Monster Yamaha Tech3 team – in February. Last season, Zulfahmi was riding in the World Supersport Championship under the banner of Orelac Racing Verdnatura for two seasons since 2016. His best result was finishing second in the Malaysian round in 2016.

Twice a podium finisher in the Moto3 class on a KTM in 2012, Zulfahmi made his Moto2 debut at the Qatar Grand Prix in March, finishing in 28th spot. At the Argentina Grand Prix, he finished 26th while at the Grand Prix of the Americas he finished 27th. At the recent round in Jerez, Spain, unfortunately he did not managed to complete the race.

Despite ending his contract with SIC Racing Team, Zulfahmi will still be involved in racing in his current role as the mentor in the SIC-backed ‘Impian ke MotoGP’ programme – a programme to unearth raw talents in two wheels racing.

“I will focus my energy and experience towards guiding the young talents we have in the programme as we aim to create a viable pathway to the pinnacle of two-wheel racing, the MotoGP,” he said. “To everybody at the SIC Racing Team, I say thank you for guiding and helping me this far.”

Meanwhile, SIC CEO Dato’ Razlan expressed his thanks to Zulfahmi and acknowledged the challenges in the super competitive Moto2 World Championship.

“First of all, I would like to thank Zulfahmi for his hard work and dedication after four rounds in the championship. I’m aware it was difficult for him to adapt to the super competitive Moto2 championship even with his experience in the World Supersport Championship.

“I’m also aware how difficult it was for him being a replacement for Hafizh. But at that time, Zulfahmi was the available option we had judging from his experience. Although he may not quite be ready physically and mentally to race in Moto2, he took the challenge in his stride and did give his best in each of the rounds unfortunately he was not able to improve his timing in the championship.

“We accept his decision but we will continue moving forward with the project. This is a long-term project that we have put forth when we initially decided to take Hafizh under our wings, the teams were handpicked by Hafizh himself and they will become a great team for the replacement rider.

“We will be exploring our options for Zulfahmi’s replacement as we hope to find someone with experience in Moto2 or has gone through the necessary trainings in the junior world championships. Moto2 is an aggressively challenging race in which we have to thoroughly analyse capable and available riders may it be local or international talent. We hope to make an announcement this week,” he added.

For more information, please contact SIC National Press Officer Nor Lina Ayob at norlina.ayob@sepangcircuit.com.

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