The SIC Racing Moto2 has signed Finnish rider Niki Tuuli, following the recent departure of Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

While Khairuddin is returning to his mentor role within the SIC-backed 'Impian ke MotoGP' programme, 22-year-old Tuuli will make his debut on the Sepang team's Kalex chassis at this weekend's Le Mans round.

A race winner in Superstock 600, Tuuli burst onto the World Supersport scene as a wild-card in 2016, claiming three podiums. That led to a full-season campaign with Kallio Racing in 2017, which brought a debut victory and seventh in the championship.

The Finn currently holds eighth overall in this year's WSS championship for CIA Landlord Insurance Honda, but has now set his sights on a new challenge.

“First of all I want say thanks to SIC Racing Team for this opportunity. I’m really excited and looking forward to this upcoming challenge. Moto2 has been one of my dreams and now it’s a reality," Tuuli said.

"I’ve been riding 600cc bike’s since 2012; the first six years with Yamaha and now this season I’ve been riding with Honda. Obviously Moto2 is different to Supersport but the SIC Racing Team is a good team with lots of experience, so with their help I believe I can adapt well to the Moto2 class.

"I have only a little experience with Kalex. I got a chance to try it at the end of 2016. I’m now anxiously waiting to ride it again. I know Kalex is excellent, so I’m really thrilled to get this ride.

"Everything will be new for me at Le Mans, the track, the bike and the team, so I need to go step by step. Now it’s not about any pressure, I just want to learn all the new things properly. Of course I want to do the best result I can and perform as well as possible, but at the same time I need to be patient and focus on adapting to the Moto2 class every lap and every session.”

Team Manager and former grand prix racer Johan Stigefelt added: “Niki has great experience in the Supersport World Championship and has been riding 600cc bikes for a long time, so we believe that he can adapt well to the Moto2 bike.

"It’s a big step of course but it’s a great opportunity for him and we will help him all the way with the experience from this team. He is young and hungry and he want’s to prove himself, so it’s the perfect time for him to do this.

"We are all going to work hard from all aspects and do the best we can. It will probably take a few races before he’s up to speed, but we know that and everyone will be patient for this. At the same time we are experienced enough to give him a good bike immediately.

"Let’s see at Le Mans; it’s a new track for Niki, team and bike but I’m hopeful that we can make steady progress throughout the weekend.”

In other Moto2 news, it has been confirmed that Hector Garzo will again replace injured Tech3 Moto2 rider Remy Gardner at the team's home Le Mans round.

Gardner is still recovering from multiple motocross injuries, that saw him sidelined from Jerez. Garzo, who will again ride alongside team regular Bo Bendsneyder, qualified 30th and finished 23rd at Jerez.

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