WorldSBK Free Practice 2: Alex Lowes Leads the way with new lap record with Bulega trailing close behind

By February 23, 2024 WorldSBK

WorldSBK Free Practice 2: Alex Lowes Leads the way with new lap record with Bulega trailing close behind

WorldSBK By February 23, 2024

The atmosphere is building ahead of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round, with Friday’s Free Practice now complete for both WorldSSP and WorldSBK, with lap records demolished across both categories.


A confidence boosting start for Kawasaki Racing Team’s Alex Lowes, who set a new all time Lap Record for World Superbikes around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit of a 1:29.042 during this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session.



Alex Lowes set his fastest time on his eighth lap of the session to stop the clock at 1:29.042, and trailing close behind was Nicolo Bulega, who missed out on the top spot by just 0.059 seconds.

 

 Alex Lowes: ““In the pace, we know how strong the Ducati’s are, they have been fast in all testing. Not just Alvaro Bautista and Nicolo Bulega but all the guys, even rookies who haven’t ridden superbikes. I still think they are going to be the bike to beat, but I have done well here in the past with Kawasaki. It’s a strange track this year with how much grip we have, I think it helps us with our bike. When we have grip we’ve seen we can qualify the Kawasaki well and go well, so it might be an easier race for us to start the year. In testing I’ve doing a good job, we’ve been working hard and it’s good to see some hard work paying off. I think my tyres are good and speaking with the Pirelli guys, I had one of the best tyres on Tuesday for the distance. In 2020 I was really slow in the test, maybe 15th thinking I had no chance and then race weekend I nearly won the first race and won the second race because in the end, my tyre was quite good. I think with my riding style and this bike and the SC1 tyre which we dont use with many tracks, I can make the distance on. Tuesday after 19 to 20 laps, my tyre was not bad. I think if it was a longer race, I would have had a good chance maybe not to win but definitely to fight for at least the top positions.”

 

Danilo Petrucci [BARNI Spark Racing Team] found himself inside the top 3 in Free Practice 2 for the first time today, with his fastest lap of 1:29.237, following by Michael van der Mark who was the leading BMW rider.

With less than a second covering the Top 14 World Superbike riders in Free Practice 2 and in the combined standings, it’s safe to say it could be a close podium fight ahead for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.



Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] found himself inside the Top 10 in both Free Practice 2 and in the combined standing, finishing Free Practice 2 in 8th position.

Surprisingly, further down the order was 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu [ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team] in 10th spot just behind Gardner.

 

The only rider who was unable to improve his time set in FP1 was Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha]. Although he was 11th in Free Practice 2, his time set earlier this morning was enough to finish the days combined times in 3rd place. Speaking of his day in the media debrief, Locatelli explained what has happened in Free Practice 2.

 

Andrea Locatelli: “This morning was immediately important to find a good feeling and I think after 3 laps I did a really good lap time. This afternoon when we put the new tyre in, I was in the middle of traffic in the beginning of the race simulation so I lost the ability to do a good lap time. I think until now, we are working really well. We have the possibility to push hard on the bike with a good feeling, so lets see what we can do tomorrow. At the moment, everything is working well and I am really happy with the bike. It was not so easy to ride with this wind today, but it was the same for everybody.” 

 

Combined standings after Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2:

  1. Alex Lowes [Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK] | 1:29.042
  2. Nicolo Bulega [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] | 1:29.101
  3. Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha] | 1:29.197
  4.  Daniello Petrucci [Barni Spark Racing Team] | 1:29.237
  5. Michael van der Mark [ROKit BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team] | 1:29.264
  6. Sam Lowes [ELF Marc VDS Racing Team] | 1:29.292
  7. Andrea Iannone [Team GoEleven] | 1:29.323
  8. Michael Ruben Rinaldi [Team Motocorsa Racing] | 1:29.343
  9. Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] | 1:29.349
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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