Tuuli aiming for Superpole 2 at Imola

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda rider Niki Tuuli ended day one of Round Five of the World Supersport Championship at Imola thirteenth on the combined timesheets missing out on automatic entry to Superpole 2 by only two tenths of a second.  Tuuli lost significant track time in the morning session after he slid off at turn 9 of the iconic Italian circuit and subsequent technical problems in the afternoon robbed him of a final run to post a time.  Tuuli said: “In the first practice this morning my riding felt really good but I made a small mistake which cost me about half of the session but the team did a really good job getting me back on track for some time at the end of the session.  The second practice wasn’t easy, we had some problems with the bike but I’m really happy about my lap time because I improved by more than one second from last year.  I’m quite happy, we just need to find some time.  We can improve much more tomorrow I am really sure about that.”

Teammate Andrew Irwin’s debut outing at arguably the most challenging circuit to learn in the calendar concluded with him in 27th position on the combined timesheets.  Irwin improved by over a second from the morning session as he got to grips with the 4.9km circuit.

CIA Landlord Insurance Honda Team Manager Simon Buckmaster said: “Niki lost time this morning and the team did a great job to get the bike back out.  The bike then had a small oil leak in the afternoon which couldn’t be cured during the session so we just had to control the situation and unfortunately just before the last run there wasn’t enough time to be sure he could go out and put in a ‘qualifying’ lap so he missed out on SP2.  You never know, only two can go through from SP1 and Niki is a lot faster than he was here last year, for him it is a difficult circuit so he’s improved a lot personally.  The bike is working well, we’ll change the engine and we have a really good chance to go through to SP2 and qualify in the best possible position for the race.”

“Andrew improved from the morning session, there is much more to come from him tomorrow and again we need to try our best to qualify inside the top twenty.  It will be difficult but he needs to  qualify as high as possible and get a strong start like he did in Assen.  Normally there is a high attrition rate here, we saw that at the end of the session with lots of people sliding off, so Andrew needs to stick with it, keep learning the track and improving on the bike and let’s see where we can go in the race.”

 

Free Practices Combined Results

 

1 F. Caricasulo 1’51.190

2 L. Mahias +0.051

3 S. Cortese +0.185

4 J. Cluzel +0.258

5 K. Sofuoglu +0.687

6 R. de Rosa +0.692

7 L. Stapleford +0.766

8 A. Badovini +0.829

9 H. Okubo +0.939

10 R. Krummenacher +0.958

13 N. Tuuli CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +1.200

27 A. Irwin CIA Landlord Insurance Honda +3.534