Top 3 only covered by 0.007 of a second, but it’s Bulega back on top with new all time lap record

By February 24, 2024 WorldSBK

Top 3 only covered by 0.007 of a second, but it’s Bulega back on top with new all time lap record

WorldSBK By February 24, 2024

Top 3 only covered by 0.007 of a second, but it’s Bulega Back on Top with new all time lap record

 

Day 2 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round got underway at 10am this morning, with World Superbikes the first to hit the circuit. At the conclusion of the 20 minute session, only 0.007 seconds covered the top 3!

Track conditions, while still quite cool at around 24 degrees, were more desirable for riders than yesterday’s Free Practice 2 session with the wind far less aggressive than what we saw yesterday afternoon.

 

With Free Practice 3 only 20 minutes, the focus was set on putting in a time attack ahead of this afternoon’s World Superbike Tissot Superpole, with Nicolo Bulega [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] yet again at the top at the conclusion of the session.

 

While only a Rookie, the 2023 World Supersport Champion has consistently shown a strong time attack pace, setting a new official all time Lap Record this morning of 1:28.716, set on his 4th lap of 13.

 

Toprak Razgatlioglu [ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team] made his best time attack on Lap 6, and was just a marginal 0.003 seconds off Bulega’s all time lap record. While not the fastest in lap times, the Turkish rider was the fastest through the speedtrap, clocking his BMW M 1000 RR at 322.4 kilometres an hour down Gardner Straight, matched with Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] on his Ducati Panigali V4R.

 

It was then a Yamaha 3-4-5, with Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha], Dominique Aegerter [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] and Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] finishing in that order respectively, with Locatelli’s time only 0.007 seconds away from leading man Bulega.

 

Garrett Gerloff [Bonovo Action BMW] was a fresh face at the pointy end of the timesheet, who finished out the final Free Practice session in 6th position, followed by yesterday’s fastest rider Alex Lowes [Kawasaki Racing Team].

 

Despite Alex Lowes fastest time of a 1:28.990, this was only enough for the Kawasaki rider to finish in  7th, the last of the 23 rider field to lap in the 1:28 second time bracket.

 

While one of the Factory Yamaha riders are battling for a podium position, the six-time World Championship Jonathan Rea looks to still be struggling on the Yamaha YZF-R1, finishing Free Practice 3 well down the order in 13th position.

 

Speaking in yesterday’s debrief, Rea voiced that this was one of the hardest starts of his World Championship career so far.

 

“Physically a good step forward. We have missed a lot of track time here and i have a big fundamental problem that I can’t get rid of on the bike so we are just working as a team through the items try and eradicate it. Right now it’s unacceptable, but something is not right and we need to find the problem. I can’t say too much, but it’s frustrating for me as well as I would love to tell you the whole story, but it has been a difficult day, one of the most difficult. I have full belief in the guys that we will find it, but it’s not how I dreamed of starting my first round of the World Championship, we are really on the back foot.”

 

Top six after FP3, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) 1’28.716s

2. Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) +0.003s

3. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) +0.007s

4. Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.124s

5. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.221s

6. Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) +0.256s

 

Written by: Tayla Relph
Images by: Russell Colvin
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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