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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Nicky Hayden and his signature smile were able to rest a few…

Nicky Hayden and his signature smile were able to rest a few weeks during the 2015/2016 off season at his home in Owensboro.

2002 AMA Superbike Champion, 2006 MotoGP World Champion

Awful things happen, all over the world, to anyone. And it’s a terrible shame for something so awful to have happened to one so loved as Nicky Hayden, exactly 1 year ago today.