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SBK, Bulega: "I’m still not on first name terms with the bike, physically it kills me"

“I ride stiff and get tired earlier than normal, but I was fast and I'm happy with the pace on used tyres. I'm ready for the flag-to-flag, but I would prefer a normal race because I'm among the best at managing the tyres"

SBK: Bulega:

Nicolò Bulega has enjoyed being at the front and he also demonstrated it in Tuesday's test at Phillip Island, finishing in second position just 74 thousandths behind the leader Toprak Razgatlioglu. It was a confirmation of the excellent sensations already felt in the Jerez and Portimao tests by the reigning Supersport champion, who in the 86 laps completed on the Australian track mainly focussed on setting up his Panigale V4R and studying the different tyre solutions.

“I don't know if I'm surprised, given that this is my favourite track” declared the Racing Ducati team rider, commenting on the result of this day of testing. “When I did the first five or six laps this morning it was a bit strange because I arrived at Turn 1 with a different speed than I had last year. I had to adapt, but after about ten laps I was already riding quite well."

Not even Toprak's best time at the end managed to amaze BuleGas, who doesn't regret not having his name at the top of the timesheets.

“It's normal that Toprak is so fast, I expected it, but today I'm happier than in the tests in Jerez and Portimao because this test went better and I had an excellent race pace” observed the 24-year-old, protagonist of an excellent pre-season: “Maybe the pre-season went better than I expected because last year we tested two days here and I didn’t go that fast. I think I'm fast at the moment, especially with used tyres, with which I've made progress compared to the last test, but I can definitely improve also because in turns 4 and 10 I still can't stop the bike the way I would like."

Tyre management was one of the areas in which the Ducati rider managed to particularly shine in Australia, after having already shone in the time attack in the two previous testing sessions.

“I heard that some riders had problems with the tyres, but not many to be honest - he stated - I learned from Pirelli that I was one of the best in tyre management and I'm happy with the wear of my tyres, because I didn’t feel anything strange. Thanks to my smooth riding style, I think I can complete the entire race distance, but I don't know if this is the case for others too."

The resurfacing of the track has increased tyre degradation and the risk of two long flag-to-flag races seems to be very high. But would it be a correct decision for those who have not had any problems managing the tyres?

“Maybe not, but I think I'm ready in any case. I have good sensations, so if they decide to do the flag-to-flag I will do it and if we have to run the whole race normally maybe it will be even better for me, because from what I saw today Iannone and I were the best with the tyres" replied Bulega, who still went ahead with the work by trying a pit stop: "As soon as the session ended I tried to do a flag-to-flag, just to understand what I should do since it's not the same as what happens in Supersport."

Summing up the tests, the Emilian rider's impact with Superbike seems to be better than that he had with Supersport, where he became champion in his second year in the category, but Nicolò prefers to curb his enthusiasm.

“It's too early to say because we haven't even done a race yet, but in terms of run consistency I think I made a good step today, because in the end I had a very good outing on used tyres. But they are also two very different bikes - he commented - It's true that I did very well in the tests, but then the races are another thing. You have to manage a lot of other things and this bike kills me physically. I'm still struggling, not because of the training due to the fact that I’m still not on first name terms with the bike. I still ride stiffly and so I get tired much earlier than normal."


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