CIA Landlord Insurance Honda will be represented by only Niki Tuuli at Philip Island after replacement rider Aiden Wagner was forced to withdraw as a result of problems from his recent knee surgery.
Wagner was drafted in to the CIA Landlord Insurance Honda team for round one in Australia to replace the injured Andrew Irwin who yesterday underwent successful surgery to his broken hand but it proved to be ultimately too much of a challenge for Wagner and he had to admit defeat.
Tuuli concluded the two-day test in 11th place on the combined timesheets after a tough second day on track. The Finnish rider lost a lot of track time when his rear tyre catastrophically failed crashing him out at the exit of turn 2 and he was unable to improve his time.
CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “It’s been an eventful couple of days. We lost Andrew on day one when he went into turn 2 too hot and ran out of track. Both he and the bike hit the tyres and he broke his hand which put him out of the event. We like to support the WSS series and so tried to run another rider but Aiden’s very recent knee re-construction surgery prevents him from taking part any further which is a shame”
“Niki is trying a lot of things. The nature of Philip Island track is very different to most tracks in the world and certainly to Portimao and Jerez where we have tested previously. This morning we got up to mid 34s and were looking good. We were just about to do a long run and a time attack run on the better of the two rear tyres. On the first lap of the two-lap run the rear tyre failed blowing a hole in the side of the tyre and Niki crashed with just under an hour of the session to go and that’s a lot of time to lose.”
“I would confidently say that based on these conditions we are in far better shape than we look and come qualifying and the race, Niki will be challenging right at the front. Rain is now forecast for all three days which will change everything for all the riders anyway. We have opted not to run a second rider at this event, it has the potential to compromise our position as a team. Realistically it is better both for the team and for Andrew and he now has the time to recover from his injury and be fully fit for Thailand.”
Round One of the 2018 World Supersport Championship kicks off with Free Practice One at 10:40am (+11 GMT) on Friday 23rd February.