The Finn was certainly flying at Portugal welcomed World Supersport action on Friday
The opening session of the weekend for the FIM Supersport World Championship got underway with bright skies overhead and it was certainly an action-packed session. Topping the timesheets come the chequered flag, it was a good start to Friday for Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, as he set a 1’44.360 on his final flying lap, with Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph).
Niki Tuuli was on a mission and on his final flying lap, stormed to the top of the times to put MV Agusta top. The Finnish rider had nearly a quarter of a second advantage as he seeks a first win in five years. Stefano Manzi continued his good form from Barcelona as he made strides in Portugal. Having been in contention for a first victory last time out, Manzi returned to a circuit he knows well and lit up the sector times in the closing stages, momentarily going top before finishing second. Third place went to Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing), with the Italian heading off fellow countryman Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team), who knows the importance of this weekend and knows he has to eat into his Championship deficit to Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha), who was in-turn in fifth. Aegerter comes into the round with a new deal to move up to WorldSBK in 2023 in the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, alongside Remy Gardner.
Sixth place honours were secured by Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), as he got used to the Portimao track, one he’s familiar with following testing in preseason. Making it five Italian riders inside the top seven was Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura WorldSSP), whilst it was Jules Cluzel (GMT94 Yamaha) who took eighth at a circuit he knows well, perhaps better than his WorldSSP rivals. Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) was ninth but stole the headlines with an audacious save at Turn 1; the front-end had tucked so extremely that it began smoking. Completing the top ten, Hannes Soomer (Dynavolt Triumph), with both Triumphs inside the top ten after FP1. There were crashes for Tom Booth-Amos (Prodina Racing WorldSSP) and Meikon Kawakami (MS Racing Yamaha WorldSSP at Turn 5 in separate incidents, a big crash for Yari Montella (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at Turn 15 and Johan Gimbert (VFT Racing) on the exit of Turn 5; all were OK.
Top six after WorldSSP FP1 at Portimao, full results here:
1. Niki Tuuli (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) 1’44.360s
2. Stefano Manzi (Dynavolt Triumph) +0.233s
3. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing) +0.246s
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) +0.308s
5. Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.349s
6. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing WorldSSP Team) +0.472s
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