NIKI Tuuli edged Bradley Smith to a thrilling inaugural FIM Enel MotoE World Cup race win as a crash and red flags brought an early end to action.
The Ajo MotoE rider had been entangled in a four-way fight for victory early on with the Brit along with Hector Garzo and Mike Di Meglio, but came out on top after Lorenzo Savadori’s crash forced race chiefs to stop action with two laps remaining.
Tuuli looked to get the strongest start when the lights went out, but Tech3 E-Racing’s Garzo cut down the inside of the Finn as the pack hit the first corner moments before One Energy Racing man Smith shot from the third row into second.
And by Turn 2, the Brit had found a way through on Garzo to hit the lead.
Seconds later, EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Di Meglio launched from fourth into second and began hunting down Smith and just a few corners later, he had the lead – but it was short lived as Tuuli finally found a way into the top two and quickly jumped onto Di Meglio’s tail.
Smith lined up a pass on Di Meglio and Tuuli down at the waterfall and by the end of lap two, the Englishman had snatched his early advantage back.
Tuuli then clocked the quickest lap of the race as he moved into second ahead of Di Meglio before lining up a pass on Smith at the Sachsencurve only to be eclipsed after running wide.
The Finn continued his assault as he slotted up the inside of Smith at Turn 1, while Garzo tagged onto the back of the leading trio to make it a four-way fight for the lead.
But moments later, just after Savadori had binned his Trentino Gresini machine big-style at Turn 8, the race was red flagged and a result declared at the end of lap five as Tuuli took the very first win of the season ahead of Smith and Di Meglio.
After making inroads on lap six, Garzo’s progress was axed with the result brought back a lap and he had to settle for fourth, a full second clear of Savadori’s team-mate Matteo Ferrari.
OCTO Pramac MotoE man Alex De Angelis emerged from a mid-race dust-up with Avintia Esponsorama’s Xavier Simeon to take sixth while early pace-setter Eric Granado’s difficult first few corners resulted in eighth.
MotoGP legend Sete Gibernau gave the Join Contracts Pons 40 squad ninth after holding off OpenBank Ángel Nieto Team’s Nico Terol.