"Lukas Tulovic, well, that’s me. I’m 19, I come from Eberbach in the beautiful Odenwald in Germany and I’ve been racing in motorcycle competitions since I was five years old. So, basically, it’s all I’ve ever done in my life!” the smart young rider recently told a German sports streaming service. In motor racing, just like other top-class sports, it’s all about determination. “After our school maths exams, my classmates went partying at the famous Neckarwiese park in Heidelberg, whereas I flew to Spain to take part in the race. It meant I was actually able to fulfil my dream of riding in the World Championship, something I’d imagined as a little boy. The goal was always crystal clear: to participate at least once in the MotoGP.”
After two successful races in the Moto2 World Championship as a replacement for Aegerter, who had a broken pelvis, plus a respectable eighth place in the Moto2 European Championship, private team and two-times world champion Kiefer Racing opted for the ambitious rookie as their sole rider in the 2019 season. Kiefer Racing, which won the Moto2 with German Stefan Bradl in 2011 and the Moto3 with Danny Kent in 2015, is known for fostering young talent, especially from Germany. Team manager Jochen Kiefer is convinced: “When I watch him, and even when I analyse the data, there's a lot of potential still to come,” he told motorsport-total.com.
Kiefer isn’t the only one who believes in the potential of the young rider, who has already spent parts of his short career in Spain, and recently scored his first World Championship points at the Dutch TT in Assen. So does the number one provider of Original Equipment spark plugs and oxygen sensors for 2-wheels, NGK SPARK PLUG, who chose Lukas as their brand ambassador. The Japanese company, which has its EMEA headquarters in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, has been a close technical partner of motorsports for more than 50 years; and has supported teams in the 2-wheel arena for more than 30 years.
Damien Germès, Regional President EMEA, President & CEO NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE and Corporate Officer explains the reason why: “We are extremely proud of our long motorsports involvement – not only at the highest levels but with niche teams and amateur enthusiasts too. As well as helping them to win, we are continually setting new standards in parts technology that improve everyday riding. That’s a strong motivation, and it will stay part of our strategy for years to come.”
Of the countless teams and drivers who have made their mark on motorsports history backed by NGK SPARK PLUG, private teams are usually supplied from the company’s Racing spark plug range. The plugs are especially developed to withstand the exceptional stresses of competition, which create extremely high engine temperatures, pressure and vibrations.
Lukas’s KTM Moto2 M29 bike is equipped with a three cylinder, four stroke, 765 ccm engine from British motorcycle manufacturer Triumph, delivering up to 140 PS. For cost-saving reasons, Moto2 deploys standard engines which are randomly allocated to competing riders every three races. Only the clutch cover is freely accessible; all other areas of the engine are sealed. If Lukas and the Kiefer Racing team detect a problem, they call the engineers from Externpro SI, Triumph’s authorised service, repair and revisioning partner, who aim to fix the problem on the spot.
"It’s a challenging task for our engineers, as there’s a huge amount of pressure on the racetrack,” explains Trevor Morris, Technical Director at Externpro Sl. “We don’t have time for trial and error. That’s why we have to trust the best. With regards to spark plugs, we use Racing ones from NGK SPARK PLUG. These highest performance plugs are especially developed to withstand the exceptional stresses of competition, and have deservedly earned a reputation for being amongst the best in the world.”
Lukas, who is one of the best in the world himself, told the sports streaming service: “We’re currently in Moto2, doing well in my first year, and we’ll continue step-by-step for the next one to two years. After that, everything is wide open – anything’s possible.”
And that’s even though Tulovic’s future cooperation with Kiefer is currently unclear, as Moto2 organiser Dorna has just announced it won’t be renewing Kiefer’s Moto2 license for 2020. According to rumours from the MotoGP paddock, the decision is part of an attempt to reduce the size of the current field of 32 motorcycles by up to three places. However, both Lukas Tulovic, who has a strong social media presence, and the Kiefer Racing team remain optimistic. Keep your fingers crossed!