BULEGA VS BAUTISTA IN BARCELONA? "I would like this… if it’s like that, I’ll sign now!"

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and a thrilling battle is shaping up between the two Aruba.it Racing – Ducati riders. Nicolo Bulega led Friday’s action ahead of teammate Alvaro Bautista, and both put in remarkable race pace in FP2 as the focus became ensuring both riders could ensure their pace could remain fast and consistent throughout the 20-lap races.

The #11 topped the session with a 1’40.907s and he was the only rider to dip into the 1’40s throughout both FP1 and FP2, with his fastest time set in the latter. However, his race pace was just as impressive. An eight-lap run in the afternoon session featured every lap bar in the low-to-mid 1’41s, dipping to a 1’41.740s on his final lap. It was a similar story in FP1 too, with an eight-lap stint all in the 1’41s bracket.

Reflecting on his day, ‘Bulegas’ said: “It was a good first day because my feeling with the bike is good. It was good to have the test here last week, because it was my first time here with the big bike. It’s nice to already have some information for the weekend. I’m happy because I race pace was very, very good so I think I’m ready for the race.”

When asked whether there would be a Bulega vs Bautista head-to-head fight for victory, the #11 simply responded: “I would like this.”

Both riders were trying the SCX tyres available to them in FP2, with Bulega starting on the development C0900 and switching to the standard while Bautista started on the standard and switched to the development tyre. The reigning Champion’s race pace was also superb in FP2. An 11-lap run at the start of the session yielded lap times that switched between the 1’41s and 1’42s, but an eight-lap run towards the end brought more consistency. All bar one lap was in the 1’41s, with the eighth tour dropping to a 1’42.253s on his way to second place.

Discussing whether it was Bautista vs Bulega for victory, the #1 said: “If it’s like that, I’ll sign now! Because for me it has been a really hard winter and first race, because the feeling riding the bike was not the best and I couldn’t ride as I wanted. First, I thought it was because of my injury, but in the test, I felt okay and I couldn’t ride like I wanted yet, so there was something wrong. Fortunately, today we found something that helped me a lot to ride as I wanted. Tomorrow will be another day and we will try to keep this improvement. Races in Barcelona are really hard for the tyres, and you have to manage really well the situation. In the past I did it well, but I was the fastest on race pace, so it was easy to be 3-4 tenths slower than my normal pace to manage the tyre. Now I’m not the fastest guy, so I need to push from the beginning. It’s a different situation.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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