BULEGA ON TOP: ‘Bulegas’ takes top spot on Friday ahead of Bautista, Razgatlioglu P3

Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) continued his impressive start to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with P1 on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, beating two-time Champion teammate Alvaro Bautista by more than two tenths. The #11 continues to make waves as a rookie and that was shown during the Pirelli Catalunya Round both with his outright speed and incredible race pace.

BULEGA VS BAUTISTA FOR VICTORY? A close fight in store at Ducati…

Bulega went faster than in FP2, and overall, for Friday, with the two Ducati riders running split strategies to test SCX tyres in FP2. Bulega started on the development SCX C0900 tyre before switching to the standard, where he dipped into the 1’40s with a 1’40.907s. Across the box, Bautista started with the standard SCX but went on the C0900 to end his session as they booked focused on race performance. In the end, Bulega’s 1’40.90s was the fastest time of FP2, and the day, with Bautista 0.247s back. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) led the Independent Ducati charge with P7, 0.590s down on Bulega, with Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) one place and 0.011s down on ‘The Maniac’. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) was ninth while Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team Motocorsa Racing) was 15th.

FASTEST IN FP1, CLOSE IN FP2: BMW in the mix in Barcelona?

Barcelona is a circuit Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) hasn’t won at yet, but he’s put himself in contention after Friday’s running along with teammate Michael van der Mark as the pair took third and fourth in the combined classification, with both riders’ best times coming in FP1, although the #54 was able to take P5 in FP2 – the highest-placed rider who didn’t improve in the afternoon. At the Bonovo Action BMW team, neither Garrett Gerloff nor Scott Redding found time in FP2, finishing the day in 16th and 18th place respectively.

FIGHTING FOR THE PODIUM? Two Yamahas in the top six

Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) finished the day as the lead Yamaha rider in fifth, directly ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli. Both the #65 and the #55 were focusing on long run pace in FP2, with Locatelli completing a 21-lap run during the 45-minute session which left him down the order in FP2 but sixth overall. The GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team were represented in the top ten with Remy Gardner in P10 while Dominique Aegerter was two places behind his teammate and separated by only two tenths. Philipp Oettl (GMT94 Yamaha) was in 17th place after setting a 1’42.397s, while Bradley Ray (Yamaha Motoxracing WorldSBK Team) posted a 1’43.161s to finish in 21st.

IMPROVING IN FP2: Lowes, Bassani find gains but out of the top ten on Friday

Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was the first rider to improve his time in the afternoon session compared to FP1 as he moved up the order, followed shortly by KRT teammate Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with both riders finding time as the temperatures warmed up in Barcelona. In the end, the #22 finished in 14th place with Bassani one place ahead and the pair separated by 0.024s. The third Kawasaki rider was Tito Rabat (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who finished in 20th place after setting a 142.647s despite a Turn 5 spill in the opening stages of FP2.

LOOKING FOR MORE: will Honda fight back on Saturday?

At a circuit where Honda have gone well at in the past, the Japanese manufacturer have found 2024 difficult in Barcelona. Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was the fastest rider for HRC as he finished in 16th place, setting a 1’42.266s with teammate Iker Lecuona three places lower than the #97. Next door at the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, Tarran Mackenzie was 22nd and teammate Adam Norrodin 23rd as they rounded out the WorldSBK field.

The top six from Friday in WorldSBK, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’40.907s

2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.247s

3. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.292s

4. Michael van der Mark (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.338

5. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.493s

6. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.566s

Follow all of Saturday’s action from 09:00 Local Time (UTC+1) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

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