Niki Tuuli wins first-ever MotoE race at Sachsenring after red flag

Niki Tuuli won a frantic first-ever MotoE race at the Sachsenring, which was red-flagged after five laps due to Lorenzo Savadori's crash

Niki Tuuli wins first-ever MotoE race at Sachsenring after red flag

Overnight rain meant the race was declared wet and the planned race distance was slashed to seven laps from the original eight, even though a large dry line had already formed by the time the event got underway.

Ajo rider Tuuli, who had dominated qualifying, immediately lost the lead off the line and was passed by Tech 3's Hector Garzo before Turn 1.

Garzo was then pipped by Aprilia MotoGP tester Bradley Smith, riding for the Sepang-backed One Energy Racing, a few corners later.

Practice pacesetter Mike Di Meglio (Marc VDS) had also found his way past Tuuli and took the lead from Smith at the first corner of the second lap with Tuuli following through, only for Smith to retake first place by the end of the lap.

But as the order in the lead pack stabilised, Tuuli launched his bike down the inside of Smith at the Turn 12 bend on the next lap - and while he ran out wide and allowed Smith back through, he then completed the move at the first corner.

Tuuli proceeded to edge clear from there and was four tenths ahead of Smith at the end of the fifth lap, which ended up determining the classification.

This was because Gresini rider Lorenzo Savadori had gone down while battling Eric Granado (Avintia), with Savadori's bike slamming into the air fence at Turn 8 and picked up significant damage.

The race was subsequently red-flagged and the results were declared, with Di Meglio joining Tuuli and Smith on the podium.

Garzo headed Gresini's Matteo Ferrari in fourth, while Alex De Angelis (Pramac) held on to sixth ahead of fellow ex-MotoGP rider Xavier Simeon (Avintia), the pair having made contact while battling for position.

Granado, who had won the pre-season race simulation, started on the front row but was shuffled to the back of the pack in the opening-lap melee.

He recovered to eighth, heading ex-MotoGP star Sete Gibernau (Pons) and 2009 125cc champion Nico Terol (Angel Nieto).

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