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SBK, Bulega: “The flag-to-flag? I didn’t have tire problems in the long race”

The Ducati rider was calm at the end of his first day at Phillip Island: “Too bad for the wind. I wasn’t able have fun.” On the alleged hide-and-seek game played by his rival teammate, Bautista, he said: “Now it’s time to show our cards.”

SBK: Bulega: “The flag-to-flag? I didn’t have tire problems in the long race”

Seventh in the morning and second in the afternoon behind a wild Alex Lowes on the Kawasaki, Nicolò Bulega ended his first day of the Australian SBK with a smile. Despite the complicated weather conditions, he was constantly among the first and stated: “It was a hard day, because I hate the wind when I’m on the bike, and this prevented me from having fun. In the end, I thought more about how to handle myself on that front instead of riding well. In any case, the last run was good. Now I have to compare my pace with that of my opponents, but it doesn’t seem that bad.”

On the eve of the race weekend, Dorna, along with the FIM, the constructors, and Pirelli, announced that the scheduled races will be flag-to-flag, therefore, interrupted by a mandatory pit stop between laps 9 and 11, due to the asphalt being particularly severe on the tires. This decision wasn’t very well received by the Ducati rider. “Personally, I would’ve preferred a long race, because my tires held up well during the simulation, maybe thanks to my clean and non-aggressive style. But I noticed that, already after six or seven laps, others began to skid.  This means that, in the first part of the race, I could have an advantage with both compounds.” 

Unlike the rookie, the reigning world champion, as well as his teammate, Alvaro Bautista, didn’t finish in the top ten. Was it tactical or did they actually have critical issues to face?

Now is no longer the time to hide. We’re no longer in the test phase. You have to show what you’re worth,” he jibed. “Anyhow, I’m not thinking about him but only about how to improve.”

Despite having no experience here, the 24-year-old immediately seemed at ease, establishing himself in the group of most competitive riders. Will this cause extra pressure?

No, I just want to enjoy my first grand prix – since I don’t know how many I’ll do in my life – as well as the track, which is my favorite. In general, the sensations are positive. If I get results, fine. Otherwise, it’s not a problem because it was my debut,” he said, minimizing the stress of the expectations. “Compared to 2023, I’m calmer, even if I was sure of my potential in the Supersport and that of the bike. I think those who know they can’t do well are in a worse situation.”

Finally, he commented on the work that needs to be carried out. “I don’t think I have an area to improve. What I’ll have to do is grind miles and understand the electronics, since they’re new to me,” he concluded.



Translated by Leila Myftija

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