Bulega obliterates Most lap record to claim Most pole, title rival Manzi second

Saturday, 29 July 2023 08:29 GMT

The Championship leader smashed the all-time lap record in Superpole for his sixth pole position in WorldSSP, with his rival alongside him on the front row

Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) was unbeatable in the Tissot Superpole session for the FIM Supersport World Championship as he demolished the all-time lap record to secure pole position. The Championship leader will line up alongside title rival Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) at the Autodrom Most as the Yamaha rider looks to continue building his momentum during the Acerbis Czech Round.

A NEW LAP RECORD: Bulega unstoppable in Superpole

Bulega’s first lap was a 1’34.882s as he immediately went under the existing all-time lap record set by Lorenzo Baldassarri last year, going initially half-a-second clear of his rivals, with Bulega only setting one timed lap in his first stint. Manzi closed that gap to just two tenths on his second timed lap with a 1’35.077s. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) completed a longer first stint as he ended his run in third place, consistently quicker than Bulega across the first half of the lap.

As the second stints started, the #11 once again improved to a 1’34.803s to lower the benchmark further and it looked like he was going to go faster on his next lap but found traffic in the final sector, losing seven tenths. However, his response was emphatic: he posted a 1’34.479s on the following lap. Manzi was able to close the gap to just four tenths with a 1’34.882s, also under the previous lap record, with Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) completing the front row after hauling himself up the order with his last lap as he posted a 1’34.968s.

A BEST-EVER RESULT, A LAP TIME DELETE: mixed fortunes for the second row

Sofuoglu finished the Superpole session in fourth place after his different strategy, although all riders completed a similar number of laps. His best time was a 1’35.116s as he secured P4, his best Superpole result in WorldSSP, with 2021 WorldSSP300 Champion Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) in fifth. Huertas had been in the top three during the early running but fell down to fifth as the session concluded. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) completed the second row with P6, although he did lose a lap time good enough for fourth due to yellow flags being shown.

DRAMATIC ENDINGS: Navarro, Caricasulo crash

Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) took seventh but was taken to the medical centre for a check-up following a Turn 20 crash in the closing stages of Superpole. Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) was eighth despite a Turn 15 crash with around three minutes to go, while Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) will round out the third row as the Frenchman took ninth.

HOUSEKEEPING: to note from Superpole

The session was red flagged right at the end of the 20-minute session following a crash for Alvaro Diaz (Arco Yart Yamaha WorldSSP) at Turn 15. The reigning WorldSSP300 Champion was taken to the medical centre for a check-up after the crash.

The top six following WorldSSP Superpole, full results here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’34.479

2. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.403s

3. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.489s

4. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.637s

5. Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) +0.644s

6. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) +0.756s

Watch WorldSSP Race 1 at 15:15 Local Time (GMT+2) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!