Brno: Marquez' magic and getting to know MotoE™ leader Tuuli

Crafar, Hopkins and Ajo MotoE’s Niki Tuuli feature on Episode 26 of the MotoGP™ Podcast

The 26th edition of the MotoGP™ Podcast is now available and on this week’s episode, regular analysists Simon Crafar and John Hopkins are joined by Niki Tuuli, the winner of the first-ever MotoE™ race, to discuss his career to date.

As always, Hopkins begins by dissecting the events of the previous GP. In this case, it was the Czech GP as we witnessed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) defy the odds once more – especially in Q2.

“He is a master on two wheels, we’ve said it before in the past but Marc is so comfortable being on the limit, it doesn’t matter what conditions are out there, it could be wet or dry or half and half…it doesn’t matter, he’s a master on two wheels,” comments Hopkins. “He seems to make it look so easy, sliding on the elbow, shoulder down…

“In that chicane coming up horsepower hill; that chicane at the end of the lap was completely soaked, completely wet, and you could see on the camera there was spray coming up off his rear tyre! And yet he was fully committed, fully getting it down…he’s a master on two wheels.”

Another rider who is renowned for relishing the tricky conditions is Jack Miller (Pramac Racing). The Australian qualified second and managed to grab a second podium of the year on Sunday, but Hopkins thinks it could have been even better for Miller if the race start wasn’t delayed.

“It was an excellent ride from Miller this weekend. He was my pick if the race had gone straight off the go. Had there not been that delayed start and waiting for it to dry, I think Miller was my pick for the win. I was actually talking to him on the grid and I said to him, ‘I think this is your race, bud! You got this’. He really excels in those iffy, half-half conditions and has in the past – like Marc. He stayed on his bike, he was ready when everyone went to get the race delayed!”

Ajo MotoE’s Tuuli then chats about his journey to MotoE™. The Finnish rider first entered the world stage in 2016 when he made his debut in the WorldSSP paddock – and what a debut it was.

“There was a chance to do three wildcards in 2016, they prepared the bikes for the first race, we had one practice before the race and we knew we could maybe get quite good results,” explains Tuuli. “But in the Lausitzring, it started quite badly. In the first practice I had a big crash and the bike was destroyed but in FP2 and qualifying I was always in the top two or top three. I was really surprised about that because also in STK600 it was hard to be in the top three. We would always go on track to see when Kenan and everyone was riding and think ‘wow they’re so fast!’.

“Then in the first race I was almost the same lap time as Kenan, we finished second and did the fastest lap. We were second and set the fastest lap in each of the three races. It was a special moment to get on the podium…and pass Kenan on the first lap!”

The conversation continues before the topic of MotoE™ crops up. Tuuli was the star of the show at the Sachsenring, taking the first-ever E-Pole and MotoE™ race honours as he rides in the electric class alongside his FIM CEV Repsol Moto2™ European Championship duties.

“The season started really good, we had that first MotoE test and it was really good, it’s good for my style. (…) I think I’m riding better than last year but still with Moto2 I have many things to improve. The bike is difficult to ride and to learn how to go really fast; you can go fast but to take the final step is really difficult and it’s what takes time. But the CEV has been good this year and the first race of MotoE was really nice.

“My riding style is good for the MotoE bike. And in Moto2 you can use that riding style but with Moto2 I still need to learn how to really use that style.”

Follow this link to listen to Episode 26 of the MotoGP™ Podcast!

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