WorldSBK Indonesia: Tuuli wins as Aegerter secures second WorldSSP title

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Niki Tuuli’s race one win was somewhat overshadowed at Mandalika as Dominique Aegerter secured his second WorldSSP Championship on Saturday.

Fourth place - his worst result of the season - was enough for the Ten Kate Yamaha rider to celebrate with three races of 2022 in hand after title-rival Lorenzo Baldassarri crashed out of the opening laps. Althea’s Federico Caricasulo and Puccetti Kawasaki’s Can Öncü joining the MV Agusta man on the podium after the 19-lap race.

The first competitive action of the Lombok weekend saw Tuuli head the Supersport grid for the first time since 2017. Öncü and Aegerter alongside on the front row as the Ten Kate Yamaha man looked to secure his second title in succession.

Caricasulo claimed the holeshot from Tuuli as Hannes Soomer crashed the Triumph out at the opening corner. Nicolo Bulega up to third on the Aruba Ducati with Öncü fourth. Glenn van Straalen the second to leave the action early after a turn 11 off.

Tuuli took charge on lap two as Aegerter ran fifth from Puccetti’s Yari Montella and Lorenzo Baldassarri. The Evan Bros. Yamaha rider crashing out on lap three with the title challenge all but done.

Öncü lead as lap four got going, Tuuli briefly hitting back before the Kawasaki returned the favour once again. Caricasulo continuing to lead the fellow Ducati of Bulega with Stefani Manzi looking for a way through on the Dynavolt Triumph from fifth having kicked off the race in twelfth.

A sedate start for Aegerter saw the Swiss rider circulating in seventh, just three points the target to successfully defend his championship status now his title rival had hit the gravel. The retiring Jules Cluzel sat half a second behind in eighth on the GMT94 Yamaha with Raffaele De Rosa and Peter Sebestyen rounding out the top ten. Barni Ducati’s Oli Bayliss heading Adrian Huertas and Tom Booth-Amos on their respective MTM and Motozoo Kawasakis from 11th.

Manzi was issued a long lap penalty on lap eighth, for his part in teammate Soomer’s opening crash. Tuuli the leader as Öncü trailed by a quarter of a second. Aegerter and Bulega battled for fifth as Montella rose to fourth. Manzi successfully dispatching his penalty as he returned to the action in ninth, Cluzel and De Rosa bickering for position ahead.

Öncü was back in command with eight laps to go as Tuuli ran wide through the second turn. Caricasulo a second and a half back in third but with a clear three seconds from his nearest challenger, Montella on the second Puccetti.

A mistake for Öncü gifted the lead back to his Finnish rival with the MV Agusta quickly pulling a 1.5s gap. Caricasulo picking up the pace behind while Aegerter looked to home in on Bulega for fifth. The position captured smoothly next time around.

Caricasulo was up to second as the race counted down. Almost four seconds separating him from the leader but with Öncü aiming to hit back, from third, in the final two laps. Montella and Aegerter battling behind but two seconds adrift from the final podium position.

The final lap found Tuuli with a four second advantage from Caricasulo and Öncü as Ten Kate prepared to celebrate its second title. Aegerter stealing fourth across the line by 0.008s from Montella as Bulega, Manzi, Cluzel, De Rosa and Huertas completed the top ten.

Booth-Amos claimed 11th from Andy Verdoia, Sebestyen and Bayliss while the returning Leonardo Taccini secured the final championship point.

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Picture: GeeBee Images