Dynavolt Triumph riders Niki Tuuli and Harry Truelove completed two full days of official testing today at the Philip Island circuit in Australia with both riders declaring themselves happy with the progress made.
Tuuli concluded the two-day test in 8th position across the four free practice sessions with his time of 1’34.133 and is feeling good with the bike and his performance after a long winter lay-off from riding. Tuuli had to sit out the last 2022 World Supersport race at Philip Island due to illness but soon got into the swing of things to post his best time of 1’34.133.
Niki Tuuli: “In the end I feel quite happy these two days. First of all I needed more kilometres to understand the bike and now I do understand so much more how to use the Triumph and what we need to do to find a better setting for me. The first day was just to get laps and get used to riding again. I was really happy about the first session yesterday because I felt really good with the bike and physically I felt really well but second practice I couldn’t improve. I struggled every time I tried to go faster, I started to have problems and I hit a wall but I was generally happy about the first day. The second day we started quite strong and I’m happy that I feel good with the used tyre so I can make the same time with used as with new. That means I just need to find the confidence to push with the new tyre and I think we made a really good job. I understand how to work with the team, I’m really happy with how these two days went and I think we are ready for the race weekend. We just need to find a little more front feeling then I think for sure we can be in the top six.”
With so much to get to grips with, new bike and new circuit, Truelove’s debut didn’t get the best start with a crash early in the opening practice on day one and the resulting damage ruled the 26-year-old out until the afternoon session. Two days and 99 laps later, Truelove closed the test 20th overall with a fastest time of 1’36.188, a massive 5.8s improvement from the first session.
Harry Truelove: “Overall I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike, I feel like I can attack things a bit more. I’m starting to feel more at home on it. Things like track knowledge and getting myself more up to speed is going to help. I think a couple of days rest and coming at it with a fresh head will be good. I’m just frustrated with myself for making little mistakes when I don’t need to but overall, I’m happy.”
Dynavolt Triumph Team Manager Simon Buckmaster: “We’re ok, we did the one test at Portimão which was only a track day test so we’re having to play catch up a little bit. We’ve got some improving to do but Niki is quite happy and we understand more now, after riding in anger against the opposition, where we need to improve. We can see the potential, we believe that in FP1 and FP2 we can find more and we’re looking forward with optimism to the weekend. In the case of Harry, he’s come here to a track that is completely different in nature to what he is used to in the British Championship and he has progressed well over the two days. We just have to keep building with him to get the best result here and to keep improving and work towards getting in the points. Harry is quite happy, we are happy so let’s look forward to the race weekend and see what we can do.”
Round One of the 2023 FIM Supersport World Championship gets underway at Philip Island with Free Practice One on Friday 24 February at 10:30hrs (local time).