Jerez Test: Rookie Bulega impresses while Gardner Inside the Top 10

By January 28, 2024 WorldSBK

Jerez Test: Rookie Bulega impresses while Gardner Inside the Top 10

WorldSBK By January 28, 2024

With more than half-a-second clear of his rivals, Nicolo Bulega [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] was on a hot charge throughout the two-day test. Not only was the rookie dominating the field, including his teammate and two-time World Champion Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati], but was lapping considerably quicker than the lap record pace.

 

The only rider lapping inside the 1minute37s mark, Bulega topped the time sheet on both the Wednesday and Thursday test at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto as he blistered the current lap record by around four tenths.

 

Nicolo Bulega: “We tried something that I liked and the time attack was very good. The pace was good with the race tyre; I’m happy with the work done for the first test and we move on to the next one. I’m very proud and very happy that the first test of the year has been incredible. It was obviously not easy to do, but when I saw 1’37.809 on the dashboard, I was smiling. It was just a test, it changes nothing and I want to enjoy my first season in WorldSBK.”

 

Leading the charge for Yamaha and the only rider who could get close enough to Bulega was Jonathan Rea [Pata Prometeon Yamaha], ultimately finishing Day 2 of the test in second place, 0.536 seconds down on Bulega’s best time to lap a 1:38.345. While he was a half a second slower than the Ducati rookie, it was a positive day for the new Yamaha rider who lapped only a tenth away from his own lap record set in 2019.

 

Jonathan Rea: “We struggled to make progress on day one, trying so many different items and focussing on some key areas of the bike. This morning, I went out and felt great straight away. We’ve learnt a lot and I am really happy with the progress and the findings we have. With the swingarms, there’s a clear direction that I like, which is good and Yamaha have been working really hard behind closed doors to move the package forwards, so I’m really thankful for that. Sometimes, it’s really hard being a rider because you have to do a lot of laps but do them at the exact rhythm and give a lot of clear and precise feedback. These are hard parts that we’ll probably start the year with and become our base setup, so it’s really important. Portimao will be a track where we reconfirm some items but we have to be very clear of the package that we go to Australia with and that’ll be the key to the next test. 

 

Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) put in a stunning late 1:38.572 to claim third place and demote Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) to fourth. Redding completed 77 laps as he surged up the order in the final minutes of the day, while Razgatlioglu added another 78 to the collection for BMW.

Toprak Razgatlioglu showing ultimate comfort on the BMW.

Aussie Remy Gardner continued his strong start into the 2024 season, marking his second year with the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, finishing the day in eighth place, just a tenth behind Iannone in P5, posting his best time of a 1:38.871s.

 

Remy Gardner: “It has been a long day. We tried a lot of things today [Day 2] and we got a little lost in the morning, especially with trying some new parts. It was difficult to find the speed in the morning when conditions were good. We didn’t find too much positive things unfortunately today. We need a little bit more, but it was good to find the speed again. Overall it was good, over 150 laps over two days so it was a good wake up.”

Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha] was following close behind his new teammate, who made sure both Factory Yamaha’s were placed inside the Top 10 at the conclusion of the two-day test. Locatelli put in a total of 73 laps to eventually close in on his fastest lap time of 1:38.943.

 

The top ten from Day 2 at Jerez:

  1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’37.809, 69 laps
  2. Jonathan Rea (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.345s, 78 laps
  3. Scott Redding (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.572s, 77 laps
  4. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) 1’38.638s, 78 laps
  5. Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) 1’38.744s, 61 laps
  6. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) 1’38.832s, 74 laps
  7. Sam Lowes (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) 1’38,852s, 91 laps
  8. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) 1’38.871s, 76 laps
  9. Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) 1’38.907s, 73 laps
  10. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) 1’38.943s, 73 laps
Don’t miss a second of the action from the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round – 23 – 25th February 2024.
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