WorldSBK Indonesia: Tuuli takes first WorldSSP pole in five years

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Niki Tuuli secured his and MV Agusta’s first WorldSSP pole position since 2017 at Lombok’s Mandalika Circuit on Saturday.

A 1’35.947 saw the Finnish rider dominate - for the first time in five years - from the opening runs with Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü within half a tenth in the closing stages. Reigning Champion Dominique Aegerter securing the final front row position ahead of a quintet of Italians.

Supersport qualifying got underway with Marcel Brenner flicked off his VFT Yamaha on his opening flying lap. Niki Tuuli setting the initial target with a 1’36.746 on his MV Agusta with Althea’s Federico Caricasulo second before Öncü bettered overall.

The Italian was in charge with seven minutes dispatched thanks to a 1’36.231 before Aegerter arrived on the Ten Kate Yamaha with a new lap record. The Swiss rider just as quickly demoted by Tuuli’s third effort as the Finn set the first 1’35 of the day.

Lorenzo Baldassarri’s first flyer placed the Evan Bros. Yamaha fifth in the standings, GMT94 Yamaha’s Jules Cluzel narrowly behind as the Frenchman prepared for his penultimate farewell weekend. Kawasaki’s Yari Montella, Dynavolt Triumph’s Hannes Soomer, EAB’s Glenn Van Straalen and Aruba Ducati’s Nicolo Bulega completed the top ten at the halfway stage.

Bulega was the first to strike as the seconds runs fired up. The Italian placing the Aruba V2 up to third and sitting fastest Ducati, a quarter of a second shy off the outright pace. Caricasulo looking to challenge before a turn ten crash derailed his red sector pace, from fourth.

A late charge from Öncü promoted the Puccetti to second with two minutes left on the clock, Raffaele De Rosa finding sixth with the remainder of the top ten unchanged. Friday leader Stefano Manzi circulated 12th on the second Triumph before a crash derailed his personal best effort, as van Straalen suffered his own late session off at turn one.

Montella was the final mover as the chequered flag prepared. The Italian slotting into the middle of four compatriots, to sit sixth as the session drew to a close with Tom Booth-Amos claiming 11th at the flag on the Motozoo Puccetti.

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