Bulega completes Friday WorldSSP running on top at Mandalika, top four riders within a tenth

Friday, 3 March 2023 05:02 GMT

Italian rider Bulega was fastest after Friday’s two Free Practice session, with five manufacturers in the top five

The times tumbled during the FIM Supersport World Championship as Free Practice 2 concluded during the Motul Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit as riders found several seconds between FP1 and FP2. All riders improved their time in the second session with Championship leader Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) fastest in the combined classification with the top four riders separated by less than a tenth.

FIVE MANUFACTUERS IN THE TOP FIVE: an unpredictable weekend in store…

Bulega’s best time of the day was a 1’36.705s to end Friday on top as he looks to continue his winning run in WorldSSP having won the first two races of 2023. He was 0.024s clear of Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) in second place after he posted a 1’36.729s. Finnish rider Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph), a race winner here in 2022 when with MV Agusta, was third and only 0.046s. German rookie Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) took fourth spot with a gap of only 0.079s to Bulega, while Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was fifth at the end of the day’s running despite a Turn 16 crash with just over 10 minutes in FP2 to go in the session. It meant that five of the six manufacturers competing in 2023 were represented in the top five.

INSIDE THE TOP TEN: less than a second in it

Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) had been competing for top spot but dropped down the order to sixth place, and only 0.173s down on Bulega, while Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) was seventh. Caricasulo was 0.266s down on Bulega’s time and had his FP2 disrupted in the final seven minutes after a Turn 2 crash. Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was eighth after again spending time fighting for top spot, while Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) and Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) rounded out the top ten.

ROUNDING OUT THE TOP 15: on the fringes of the top ten

Italian rookie Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) took 11th spot, less than a second down on Bulega in. top spot, while he was ahead of compatriot Andrea Mantovani (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) after he was declared fit following a crash in Australia where he was diagnosed with a sprained thumb. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) was 14th despite a Turn 11 crash in FP2; the Turkish star lost his bike on the exit of the corner with around four minutes remaining in the session. Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) took 14th spot ahead of John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) in 15th on his first visit to Mandalika in WorldSSP.

HOUSEKEEPING: to note from WorldSSP’s Friday action

McPhee was a few tenths clear of Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE MS Racing HONDA Team) in 16th with Mackenzie having a crash at Turn 10 with around 15 minutes left in the session. Apiwath Wongthananon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) was the first rider to crash in FP2 after he came down at Turn 8, with the Thai rider finishing in 17th place and ahead of his teammate, Anupab Sarmoon, in 18th. Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin (PETRONAS MIE MS Racing HONDA Team) took 19th place, with Timothy Joseph Cua Alberto (MTM Kawasaki), replacing Adrian Huertas, in 20th and Harry Truelove (Dynavolt Triumph) rounding out the field.

The top six following Friday’s action, full result here:

1. Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) 1’36.705s

2.Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) +0.024s

3. Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph) +0.046s

4. Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) +0.079s

5. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) +0.161s

6. Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) +0.173s

Follow more WorldSSP action from Indonesia on Saturday at 09:55 Local Time (GMT+8) using the WorldSBK VideoPass!