WorldSBK Official Test: Nicolo Bulega Unstoppable, posting first ever 1:28s Lap Time in World Superbikes

By February 20, 2024 WorldSBK

WorldSBK Official Test: Nicolo Bulega Unstoppable, posting first ever 1:28s Lap Time in World Superbikes

WorldSBK By February 20, 2024

While there was speculation that we could potentially see a first ever 1:28s lap time by a World Superbike rider around Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit thanks to the recent full track resurface, the possibility of this was confirmed by one rider in the first Free Practice session of the WorldSBK Official Test.

It only took 23 laps for the outright Lap Record to be broken, by a Rookie nevertheless. Despite having never ridden a superbike nor his Ducati Panigale V4R around Phillip Island Circuit before, Nicolo Bulega [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati] was quick to fire in this history breaking time, which was made in just his 23rd lap around The Island, first posting a 1:28.962.

The Italian’s pace didn’t stop there, putting together yet another blistering fast time on his 44th lap, stopping the clock at 1:28.890.

The only other rider who came close to challenging Bulega was yet another rookie of the WorldSBK field, Andrea Iannone [Team GoEleven], who missed out on the infamous 1:28s club by just 0.001 of a second. His final time of 1:29.001 was enough to secure second position, followed by Toprak Razgatlioglu [ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team].

Andrea Locatelli [Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK Team] was only 0.080 seconds off his former Turkish teammate, followed by the two-time World Champion Alvaro Bautista [Aruba.it Racing – Ducati], and Sam Lowes putting his ELF Marc VDS Racing Team’s Ducati Panigale V4R in sixth place, completing 49 laps in total.

It was a less than ideal start in blue for Jonathan Rea [Pata Prometeon Yamaha WorldSBK], who finished down the pecking order in 12th place with a 1:29.988. Rea’s Free Practice 1 session was also cut short after a crash on the exit of Turn 11 that brought out the fourth Red Flag of the four hour session. Luckily, Rea was up and okay and cleared of any injuries.

Remy Gardner [GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team] posted his quickest time of 1:30.126 to round out the Top 15, with the Aussie rider only 0.026 seconds short off his teammate Dominique Aegerter in 14th spot.

You can view the full results HERE , and keep track of livetiming HERE as Free Practice 2 gets underway at 1340.

 

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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