Tyre management education for Bulega after Race 2 rostrum: “I learnt something from Alvaro”

Nicolo Bulega’s (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) strong start to his rookie campaign continued at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with two more rostrums and a fourth place, with the #11 leading the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship standings after two rounds. Although he didn’t claim victory during the Pirelli Catalunya Round, Bulega was left pleased after two podiums and learning lessons that could prove invaluable in the future.

The #11 was second in Saturday’s Tissot Superpole session, posting a 1’39.591s that would’ve been a lap record had Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) not pulled out a 1’39.489s out of the hat for pole. It left him in good stead for Race 1, but he lost ground at the start before fighting his way into the lead and opening a gap of around four seconds to the #54. It looked like ‘Bulegas’ would take another win, but Razgatlioglu had other ideas.

The 2021 Champion slowly started eating into Bulega’s lead and he took advantage of the #11’s pace dropping in the closing stages. On Lap 15, Razgatlioglu was half-a-second quicker, six tenths faster a lap later, eight tenths quicker on Laps 17 and 18 and a huge 1.5 seconds faster on Lap 19 as Bulega posted a 1’44.9s. It set up a last-lap battle with Razgatlioglu coming out on top despite the Ducati star’s best efforts.

In the Superpole Race, Bulega once again lost ground at the start before fighting his way to a P4 finish, giving him the best view of the incredible last-corner fight ahead. In Race 2, Bulega and teammate Alvaro Bautista were fighting for victory, with the double Champion able to fend off the rookie and claim his first win of 2024. Nevertheless, Bulega was in good spirits after Race 2.

Reviewing his weekend, and the lessons he could take forward, he said: “I’m more than happy than Saturday because maybe I made a mistake, pushed a little bit too much in the beginning and destroyed the tyres. I was fast but maybe too fast. On Sunday, the strategy was the opposite of Saturday. I decided to stay calm and try to follow the more experienced guys like Toprak, Alvaro, and some others. I’m happy because I learnt something from Alvaro, he was in front of me for a lot of laps and I saw how he doesn’t destroy the tyres with the throttle.”

Assen is next up and it’s a track Bulega knows very well from his time in Moto3™ and Moto2™ as well as WorldSSP recently. In the latter, he has three podiums from four races including a double in 2023. His best finish in Moto3™ there was seventh while he didn’t score points in the Netherlands in Moto2™. After learning lessons in Barcelona, will ‘Bulegas’ take the fight to his rivals once again at Assen?

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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